In osteoporosis, the bones become fragile and weak leading to easy fractures of the bones. DEXA, a bone density test, is performed to detect the risk of osteoporosis using X-rays to to check the patient’s bone mass and the concentration of minerals like calcium.
Preparation for the procedure:
The medical tourist must inform the healthcare provider regarding previous oral contrast or nuclear medicine tests. No other preparation is needed.
During the procedure:
- Wearing an examination gown, the patient is subjected to diagnosis by lying down on a large machine. Smaller machines are used for the wrists, heels, fingers, and other peripheral bones.
- The X-rays images give an estimate of the mineral content packed into the bone segment. A higher content suggests denser and stronger bones, based on which the intensity of osteoporosis is measured.
Here are the details of a few popular bone density tests:
- Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) – spine, hip or total body
- Peripheral Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (pDXA) -wrists, fingers, heel
- Single Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (SXA) – heels and wrists
- Quantitative Ultrasound (QUS) – sheen bone, kneecap, heels
- Quantitative Compound Tomography (QCT) – spine and other sites
Uses of the procedure:
The bone density test(s) is advised to identify the risk of osteoporosis or low bone density and, therefore, fracture. It comes in handy to diagnose and\or monitor the osteoporosis treatment. Hereditary reasons, age and body-weight, ethnicity, and medical conditions such as hypothyroidism may play a role in influencing risk factors for osteoporosis.
Since the test is quick, safe, non-invasive, and painless, the medical tourist can resume daily activities immediately.