Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry” or DEXA, is one of the most accurate and precise forms of a bone mineral density (BMD) test, detecting as little as 1% change in the bone mass. It measures the amount of bone loss and the degree of osteoporosis and can estimate if the patient will be at risk if they do not already have osteoporosis.
This test can be done as an outpatient and the scanning takes only a few minutes. You just lay very still on an x-ray table while a machine scans certain parts of your body (the leg, hip, spine, and/or total body- most major fractures are in these locations).
BMD testing is recommended for postmenopausal women (especially if they have experienced fractures), younger women who are postmenopausal (because of a hysterectomy) with risk factors for osteoporosis, women with increased risk for the disease, and women over the age of 50. It is also important to do a follow-up every year thereafter, especially if there is a history of fractures.