Canadian Diagnostic Network

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Bone Density Test

Bone Density Scan (DEXA scan, DXA scan)

A bone density scan or DEXA scan or DXA scan is both non-invasive and pain-free. This test determines the strength of your bones by measuring the grams of calcium and other bone minerals. 

Symptoms and Diagnosis

This test will report the likelihood of developing osteoporosis, a disease of fragile and weak bone and occasionally even find osteoporosis related fractures that have already occurred.

This Scan will help to:

  • Assess and identify decreases in bone density before you break a bone
  • Determine your risk of broken bones (fractures)
  • Confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis
  • Monitor osteoporosis treatment

You may be referred to have this test if you have:

  • Lost height
  • Fractured a bone
  • Taken certain drugs
  • Received a transplant
  • Had a drop in hormone levels

What to expect at your Bone Density Scan appointment.

Bone density scans require minimal and brief preparation. If you’ve recently had a barium exam, had contrast material injected for a CT scan, or nuclear medicine test, ensure you let the clinic know. The amount of radiation you’re exposed to is extremely low.

How often to repeat a Bone Density Test or DEXA Test, DXA Test.

If you are taking osteoporosis medicine you should repeat a bone density test by CDN every 1-2 years. You should repeat your bone density test every year after starting osteoporosis medication.

Before Your Scan

Before the bone density scan, you may be asked to wear a paper gown. Do not take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before your bone density test. Patients should be advised not to wear clothing with buttons or zippers or snaps.

NOT to be booked within 10 days of a Barium study or within 7 days of a Nuclear Medicine/ X-Ray Dye study. Bring a list of your meditations.

During The Scan

An x-ray machine will scan those areas where bone degradation is most commonly found including the back and hips with minimal physical contact.

After The Scan 

Once the test is complete you will be able to return to your normal activities.


The test will be interpreted by a radiologist and the results will be communicated to your referring doctor. You may discuss the results of the exam with your doctor at a follow-up appointment.

Schedule Your Appointment

Please complete the Quick Form below. After you submit this information, CDN support will contact you by email to confirm your appointment. If you have a medical emergency, dial 911

Click below to download
your Requisition form.