Hong Kong Imaging and Diagnostic Centre

Bone Densitometry (DEXA, DXA)


If you have never had a DEXA scan before, you might not know what to expect. This brief guide is designed to answer any questions you may have.

What is a DEXA Scan?

A bone density scan, also called a bone mineral scan, DXA, DEXA or bone densitometry, is a form of very low radiation x-ray technology that is used to measure bone loss. It is most often used to diagnose osteoporosis, which involves a gradual loss of calcium, causing bones to become thinner and more prone to break. A DEXA test can also be used to assess an individual’s risk for incurring fractures.

How is a DEXA done?

A technician will ask you to lie on your back on an examination table. A movable arm will pass over your body, and x-rays that pass through your body will be recorded to allow the scanner to determine the density of your bones.

What to expect

Having a DEXA examination isn’t painful or uncomfortable, and you will be able to resume all normal activities after your procedure.

Once you check in at reception, you will be shown to a small private changing room where you will be given a gown to cover yourself (depending on the area to be scanned). You will be asked to remove all necklaces, earrings and metallic objects and will be provided with a secure locker to place your valuables.

Once you have changed, the technician will
bring you to a private area to discuss the scan and ask you some questions.

The whole procedure normally takes between 10-30 minutes.

What to expect afterwards

Your radiologist will examine your scans and send the film and report to your referring doctor.