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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Osteoporosis

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Bone densitometry (DEXA) scan

Bone densitometry scanning, also known as DEXA scanning or BMD (bone mineral density) measurement, is a painless test that measures the density of bones.

Generally, the denser your bones are the stronger they are, and the less likely they are to break. This means that DEXA scans are very helpful in finding out whether you have osteoporosis or are at risk of developing it.

Why might my doctor recommend a DEXA scan?

Your doctor may advise that you have a DEXA scan if they suspect you may have osteoporosis.

This could be because you:

  • have had a fracture following a minor fall or injury
  • have lost height due to a fracture of a vertebra (backbone)
  • are at increased risk of developing osteoporosis.

Pregnant women are advised against bone density testing as the scan may damage the unborn child.

Further information