A bone density scan (DEXA scan) is an imaging test using minimal radiation to measure the calcium content of the bone or, perhaps more correctly, to measure reduced bone strength. Bone density scanning, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), or bone densitometry, is an enhanced form of x-ray technology used to measure bone loss, or osteoporosis. It employs a DEXA scanner, uses a minimal radiation dose, and produces a report giving readings of bone density in relation to the average for a person of your size and weight.
Osteoporosis is a silent condition of bone loss without symptoms until a fracture occurs, affects both women and men, and can be effectively treated.
The consequences of osteoporosis include pain, disability, deformity and lost independence. The key to the treatment of osteoporosis is to measure your bone strength before you have a broken bone. As soon as you know you have lost some bone strength or "density", you and your doctor can discuss how you can minimise any further weakening. A bone density test can detect low bone density before a fracture occurs, confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis and determine your rate of bone density change if you have serial studies to monitor the effect of any treatment you are having for osteoporosis.