DEXA is a scanning technique used to assess mineral bone density and can diagnose osteoporosis and assess the risk of osteogenesis imperfecta (‘brittle bones’).

The equipment aims a low dose of X-rays at the bones being tested and performs calculations that give a highly accurate measurement of the amount of mineral in the bone. 

It then compares your measurements with those of other people of a similar age and weight, and of the same sex and ethnic background.

Having a DEXA

If you’ve never had a DEXA scan you might not know what to expect and this brief guide is designed to answer the questions that might be in your mind.

Important things to tell us

It’s important to tell us before your scan if you:

  • are (or might be) pregnant; or
  • have had an  X-ray within the previous six months

Before you arrive

  • Unless we let you know otherwise, you don't need to make any special preparations before the scan. You can eat and drink as normal and take any prescribed medicine.
  • Please wear clothing without zips or metal buttons and leave jewellery and watches at home if possible If you wear a bra, we’ll ask you to take it off.
  • Please confirm your appointment by phone 24 hours before your scan and arrive in plenty of time.
  • Please let us know if you have any disabilities so that we can ensure we are able to offer you the highest quality service.
  • You’re welcome to bring a friend or a relative with you, but for safety reasons we won’t normally allow them into the examination room.
  • Don’t forget to bring your appointment letter with you.

Preparation for the scan

  • Once you’ve checked in at reception, a member of the radiography team will meet you, explain the procedure, go through your safety questionnaire with you and ask you to sign a consent form. You’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions.
  • We might ask you to change into a hospital gown. We’ll provide somewhere to store your personal possessions.
  • Throughout the procedure, you will be looked after by the radiography team. They will explain what’s happening and will be there if you experience any discomfort.
  • You will not need an injection.

During the scan

  • The radiographer operating the equipment will be able to see and hear you throughout the procedure.
  • Spine or hip measurements are taken and this will take around five minutes.
  • For safety reasons, we won’t normally allow anyone accompanying you to come into the examination room whilst you are having your procedure.

After the scan

  • There are no restrictions on normal activity you can eat and drink normally, drive and return to work immediately after the scan.
  • A radiologist will examine the images shortly after your visit and send a report to your doctor or consultant, normally within a few days.
  • For ethical and professional reasons, we cannot discuss results with you. Only your doctor or consultant can do this.

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Alliance Medical are Europe’s leading independent provider of medical imaging services. 

We combine service excellence and innovative imaging technologies to improve patient care and support NHS and independent sector organisations with their ongoing imaging requirements. Our approach has delivered consistent company growth for more than 25 years.


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Carrying out over 2 million scans per year, we set our standards high when it comes to our people and their careers. Investment in integrated systems and individual expertise allows the development of services and long term partnerships to be forged which has seen us grow to be the imaging healthcare provider of choice for patients, referrers and employees.
Quality, safety and transparency underpin all the we do.
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Alliance Medical is Europe’s leading diagnostic and molecular imaging services provider delivering high quality diagnostic solutions in partnership with public organisations.  

We form an effective part of the health economy in each of the countries in which we operate and see our role as supporting the existing healthcare infrastructure, providing innovative partnership solutions to address local challenges in a way that builds on the strengths of existing core services.

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