Tri-City Radiology

Radiologists located in Kennewick, WA

Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is a noninvasive bone density test that helps doctors diagnose osteoporosis. The board-certified diagnostic radiologists at Tri-City Radiology in Kennewick, Washington, provide state-of-the-art DEXA testing services for patients in the southeastern Washington region. Our team of diagnostic radiology experts and skilled technologists who offer the latest imaging services in a comfortable, conveniently located testing center. Call today to schedule your DEXA test.


What is DEXA?

DEXA stands for Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. It’s a painless, noninvasive test used to diagnose osteoporosis and other bone density issues common in women after menopause. The DEXA test evaluates the density of bones in your spine, hip, and sometimes arm to predict the chances of a fracture in the future.

The DEXA test uses a tiny amount of radiation to produce images of the inside of your lower spine and hips so your doctor can measure any bone loss. If your bone mineral density (BMD) is low, you may have an increased risk of spinal and hip fractures. DEXA imaging is the most accurate way to diagnose osteoporosis.

What are some common reasons to get the DEXA test?

DEXA is commonly used to evaluate BMD in women after menopause. In rare cases, men and children may also need to have DEXA to determine bone loss or structural changes. It can also assess your risk of developing fractures. Bone density testing is usually recommended under the following circumstances:

  • History of hip fractures
  • History of smoking
  • Post-menopausal women who are over 5 feet, 7 inches tall or less than 125 pounds.
  • Men with bone loss conditions
  • History of medications that contribute to accelerated bone loss
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Liver or kidney diseases
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Thyroid condition
  • Existing evidence or signs of osteoporosis
  • Loss of height in older adults

What can I expect during the DEXA procedure?

The DEXA procedure is painless, noninvasive, and takes about 15 minutes. We recommend that you stop taking all calcium and vitamin supplements for 24 hours prior to the exam. You should dress in comfortable clothing with nothing that contains metal, like zippers, snaps, hooks, or underwires so you don’t have to change into a hospital gown.

During the procedure, you lie comfortably on a padded table with an X-ray machine below you and an imaging device overhead. You may need to rest your legs on a padded box to flatten your pelvis so the machine can get an accurate image.

Additionally, to evaluate your hip, you typically put your foot in a brace that rotates your hip inward. The image detector passes over each area and sends a picture to a computer monitor so the technologist can view it.

To schedule a bone density test, call the Tri-City Radiology office to make an appointment.