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DEXA Scan: Bone Density and Body Fat Test

With the DEXA bone density and body composition scan, you can get an assessment of your bone health and learn about the risk of developing osteoporosis. A DEXA scan also provides comprehensive data on body composition and the most accurate analysis of body fat percentage relative to lean muscle mass.  At Osprey PolyClinic in Osprey, Sarasota County, FL, we offer this advanced imaging option to our Southwest Florida residents.

dexa scan
dexa body scan

Ultimate Bone Density and Body Fat Test at Osprey PolyClinic

When you turn to Osprey PolyClinic, located in Osprey, Sarasota County, FL, you can get a DEXA test with one of the most innovative imaging X-rays available today: the DEXA scan. The DEXA scan is a dual-energy X-ray that accurately measures bone density and body composition, providing fast results that our team of specialists will quickly interpret.

We have a patient-centered approach to all of our treatments and procedures, ensuring that we provide reliable and compassionate care to patients in Sarasota, Osprey, Venice, Nokomis, North Port, Englewood, and the rest of Southwest Florida.

What Is a DEXA Scan?

The dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), also called a bone densitometry or bone mineral density test (BMD test), is an enhanced type of X-ray that can measure bone density and body fat. It allows us to identify when patients have suffered bone loss and to accurately measure lean muscle mass relative to body fat percentage.

The dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan sends low-dose X-rays that have two distinct energy peaks into the bones. The bone absorbs one of these peaks while soft tissue absorbs the other. We then subtract the soft tissue from the total, letting us obtain your bone mineral density. The DEXA scan then displays the bone density measurements on a computer screen so that they're easier to read and understand.

Why Get a DEXA Scan?

dexa scan body fat

DEXA bone density tests offer a variety of benefits for those who are concerned about bone loss, fractures, and body fat relative to lean muscle mass, particularly when monitoring the progress of an exercise and diet regimen.

Bone mineral density tests can help with the early detection of osteoporosis. This scan is the most accurate way of measuring bone density because it can detect bone loss even in the early stages. This means you can get treatment quickly and prevent more bone loss. The DEXA scan also helps your doctor to assess your fracture risk, allowing you and your healthcare provider to find ways of avoiding that problem.

The DEXA scan Sarasota option also provides in-depth information on body composition, including the distribution of lean muscle mass relative to fat.

Who Should Consider a DEXA Scan?

A DEXA scan is an important tool that can benefit those who are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis or other similar conditions. It can help diagnose bone mineral density loss accurately so that you and your healthcare team can begin addressing the problem. DEXA can help:

  • Post-Menopausal Women: Because of hormonal changes, post-menopausal women have a high risk of suffering bone density issues, which can lead to broken bones
  • Men Over 50 Years of Age: Men who are older than 50 years can also experience low bone density issues
  • Fitness Enthusiasts: Individuals who work out and follow exercise and dietary regimens will benefit from the most accurate, detailed and segmented analysis of body fat relative to lean muscle mass. 
  • Individuals With High Risk Factors: If you are someone with a low body weight or a family history of osteoporosis, or if you drink a lot of alcohol or smoke, you can experience bone loss — getting a scan helps to understand the severity of the problem
  • Individuals With Certain Medical Conditions: People who have rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, chronic kidney disease, and liver disease can all experience osteoporosis — a DEXA scan is a good tool for them to monitor bone density
  • Those Who Take Certain Long-Term Medications: People who need corticosteroids can also experience brittle bones, making an assessment of the bone density important

It's always vital that you ask your healthcare provider whether you need this kind of test or not. At Osprey PolyClinic, we offer evaluations to see if you can benefit from this type of imaging service.

What to Expect During a DEXA Scan

dexa bone density scan

When you come to Osprey PolyClinic for a DEXA scan, our technician will ask you to lie down on a padded table. Most people don't have to take their clothes off, though it will depend on what your doctor recommends.

Some people can lie flat with their legs straight while others have to place their legs on a padded platform. Once you're settled and comfortable, the test can begin.

The scanning machine that makes up one part of the bone density scan will sweep over your hips and spine. At the same time, a photon generator will pass underneath you. Those two images are then combined and sent to a computer that interprets the test results.

Your healthcare provider will offer guidance throughout the process. You will need to stay very still while the bone density test is in profress, and you may even be asked to hold your breath at certain moments so that the results will be as accurate as possible. The scan lasts between 10 and 15 minutes.

How to Prepare for Bone Density Scanning

Most people don't have to change their daily routine before getting a DEXA scan. Some things to keep in mind include:

  • You'll likely be able to eat, drink, and take your medications as you normally would unless your doctor tells you otherwise
  • It is important to stop calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before the exam (this includes antacids)
  • You also want to let your X-ray technician know if there's a possibility of you being pregnant — although the amount of radiation exposure is minimal, it's something your doctor needs to know
  • Let your physician know if you had a CT scan or if you were injected with a contrast material. They may require that you wait 10 to 14 days before getting the scan
  • Wear comfortable and loose clothing to the procedure and make sure it doesn't have any metal components
  • You will need to remove glasses and any jewelry

DEXA Scan Results

When you receive your DEXA bone density test results, you will usually see a T score. The T score is a measurement that compares your bone density to that of healthy young adults. Keep in mind that:

  • A T score of -1.0 or higher is normal bone density
  • A T score that ranges between -1.0 and -2.5 means you have low bone density and could be in danger of developing osteoporosis
  • A T score of -2.5 or less means you likely have osteoporosis

Why Choose Us?

  • State-of-the-Art Technology

    We rely on the DEXA scan to determine bone health and diagnose osteoporosis. We also use DEXA scan to provide detailed information to fitness enthusiasts about their body fat composition relative to lean muscle mass. The state-of-the-art technology offered by the DEXA scan is incomparable when measured against other means of determining body fat percentage, such as skinfolds, water tanks, air displacement, or bioelectrical impedance.

  • Patient-Centered Care

    Our experts are here to provide patients with compassionate services that address their unique concerns.

  • Experience and Expertise

    Our team has years of experience and the right training to provide exceptional care.

  • Accessible Services

    We have a multilingual team that can address the exact concerns you have.

Schedule Your DEXA Scan (Upon Clinic Opening)

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bone density test
bone density scan


  • Is a DEXA Scan Safe?

    Yes, the DEXA scan is very safe. The radiation exposure is even lower than what you would get from a typical X-ray, so the benefits outweigh the risks. If you are pregnant, however, you do want to let your doctor know, since they may choose to delay the scan until after you've given birth to prevent any kind of issue.

  • Is a DEXA Scan Painful?

    No, the scan is not painful at all. You won't feel anything as the machine works. At most, you may experience slight discomfort due to your positioning on the machine, but the bone density test only lasts a few minutes. If you struggle to hold the position, let your technician know so that an appropriate adjustment can be made.

  • How Long Does a DEXA Scan Take?

    The DEXA bone density test takes about 10 to 15 minutes. It's a quick and painless procedure that doesn't require any special preparation and allows you to return to your daily routine after it's complete. The scanning is the shortest part of the procedure, with the rest of the time dedicated to positioning you and preparing the scanner for the test.

  • How Often Should a DEXA Scan Be Done?

    For most people, it is appropriate to get a DEXA scan to measure bone density every two years. If you have certain diseases, you may need to get these scans more often. To determine the time frame, your healthcare provider will consider your age, current medications, and other risk factors. Fitness enthusiasts may choose to take the test several times per year to measure progress of their exercise and dietary routines.

  • Can I Have a DEXA Scan if I Have Metal Implants?

    The majority of people who have metal implants don't face any issues when getting a DEXA scan. The implants will usually show up on the scan, but as long as your doctor knows about them, they don't have to interfere with the accuracy of the results. If you have any worries about this, you can ask your doctor before the scan.

  • Can a DEXA Scan Show Cancer?

    No, a DEXA scan cannot show the presence of cancer. Its main purpose is to show bone density and overall body composition. The results it offers, however, may indicate if you've suffered bone loss because of a cancer that has metastasized to the bones. These kinds of results can lead your doctor to order further imaging tests to rule out any potential cancers.

  • What Is Osteoporosis?

    Osteoporosis is a disease that causes your bones to weaken. It makes your bones thinner and not as dense as they should be, and that bone loss makes them more likely to break. Osteoporosis can cause fractures in many places, but the most common ones are wrist, spine, and hip fracture issues. Women are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis than men.

  • What Is Osteopenia?

    Osteopenia is the loss of bone mineral density. It means you have a lower amount of minerals in your bones than you should, so your bones are more prone to breaking. Osteopenia is not as severe as osteoporosis, and not everyone who has the former develops the latter.

    Although losing some minerals in the bones is normal as you age, if you smoke, drink alcohol, lead a sedentary life, or have certain medical conditions, you can experience further bone loss.