Bone Densitometry


Osteoporosis is the gradual thinning and weakening of the bones, which can lead to bone fractures. Over 28 million Americans, 80% of whom are women, have or are at risk of developing this condition. Unfortunately, most individuals have no symptoms of this "silent disease" until they suffer a painful bone fracture. To learn more about osteoporosis, we strongly encourage you to visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation web site (, which has a wealth of information on the subject.

Bone densitometry or DEXA ("dual energy x-ray absorptiometry") is a method that uses very low amounts of x-rays to measure an individuals bone density. It is a fast, safe and painless test that can assess your risk of developing osteoporosis.

InnerVision uses a GE Bone Densitometer (DXA).

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Q: Who should have a DEXA scan?
A: All women over 65 years old, regardless of risk factors; postmenopausal women with one or more risk factors for osteoporosis; women who have been on hormone replacement therapy for prolonged periods; and all postmenopausal women who have had a broken bone should have their bone density tested.

Q: What are the risk factors for osteoporosis?
A: There are many risk factors, including:

  • Increased age.
  • Women are at much greater risk since they have less bone tissue to begin with and lose it more rapidly due to changes after menopause.
  • Caucasian and Asian women are at increased risk.
  • Small boned and thinner women are at increased risk.
  • Smoking currently or in the past.
  • Low calcium intake.
  • Excess alcohol intake.
  • Getting little weight-bearing exercise.
  • Family history of broken bones or osteoporosis.
  • Early menopause, either naturally or due to surgery.
  • Certain medications (such as steroids, lithium, anticonvulsants, or any anti-estrogen medications).
  • Certain medical conditions (such as endometriosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain hormone disorders).

Q: Are there any "symptoms" that indicate I may have osteoporosis?
A: While osteoporosis is called the "silent disease" since bone loss can occur without symptoms, some of the outward signs of this disease include loss of height, certain types of back pain, and an upper back that is curved forward. Unfortunately, many women first realize they have this condition when they break a bone, such as the wrist, spine or hip. 

Q: What can be done if I am found to have osteoporosis?
A: There are certain medications that your doctor can prescribe that can help treat this condition. Studies have shown that certain medications reduce the risk of fractures by 30-50% in treated groups.

Q: Why is early diagnosis important?
A: Early diagnosis leads to treatment, which can help prevent fractures. Fractures of bones, especially the hip, are a serious complication of osteoporosis. More than 90% of hip fractures are related to osteoporosis. Hip fractures also result in over 50,000 deaths each year and in an impaired lifestyle in over half of patients. The average hospital cost for treating a hip fracture is over $26,000, excluding doctors fees. It is estimated that the annual cost for treating the complications of osteoporosis is over $10 billion with the cost of treating hip fractures being over $7 billion!

Q: Will my insurance cover the cost of a DEXA scan?
A: The Bone Measurement Act of 1998 mandates that Medicare pay for bone densitometry. Most private insurance companies also pay for DEXA scans. InnerVision recommends, however, that you talk with your insurance company to see if you are covered. If you have any questions regarding insurance coverage, please contact our billing office at 447.1617.

Q: Why should I have my DEXA scan at InnerVision?
A: InnerVision uses the Lunar Bone Densitometer, one of the most advanced models available. Unlike some systems which test only the heel or wrist, the Lunar Prodigy takes bone density measurements of the entire lumbar spine and hip. This gives the most complete picture of your bone health. Our machine is also able to perform other advanced functions, such as determining an individual's body fat content. Your test will be interpreted by one of our board-certified radiologists, a doctor with advanced training in imaging.

In addition, since InnerVision is dedicated to outpatient imaging you will benefit from our rapid scheduling process, a caring staff, timely reporting to your doctor and no long waits on the day of your exam!

Q: How much radiation exposure is there with a DEXA scan?
A: Very little. The amount of radiation a patient receives from a DEXA scan is about 1/10th that of a chest x-ray. This is comparable to the naturally occurring radiation you are exposed to in one week.

Please contact us at 765.447.7447

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