Bone Density Lab and Patient Information | Bone and Mineral Unit

The Bone Density Lab uses Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) to measure the mineral density of bones. A bone density scan can help provide important information to you and your physician for the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of osteoporosis and other metabolic bone conditions.

Metabolic bone disorders, like osteoporosis, are characterized by a loss of mineral and strength. Using DEXA to measure the mineral density in a variety of bones can help provide important information to you and your physician for the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of osteoporosis and other metabolic bone conditions.

To schedule a DEXA scan, call 503 494-4814.

Locations that provide DEXA

FAQs

Various conditions, including simply aging, may increase the risk of osteoporosis. DEXA can help provide important information to you and your physician for the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of osteoporosis. Other bone measurements (for example, ultrasound performed on the heel) can also be used to detect osteoporosis, but DEXA scanning provides the most useful information.

The DEXA test is painless. You lie on a table while the machine scans your spine, hip, or other sites. Your visit takes about 20 minutes. A bone density measurement of your forearm may be necessary. For this scan, you sit in a chair while the machine scans your forearm. This takes about 5 minutes.

The DEXA machine uses a small amount of X-ray to measure the amount of mineral in the bones. It provides information that is different from regular X-rays, which show the shape and structure of bones. The amount of X-ray you are exposed to is the same as one day of natural background exposure, or about the same amount of radiation you might be exposed to during a cross-country plane trip.

Most medical insurance companies, including Medicare, typically provide coverage for this procedure, but coverage is not limited to osteoporosis. This procedure typically is covered for use in treating these conditions:

  • Hypogonadism
  • Chronic liver and renal disease
  • Hyperparathyrodism and hyperthyroidism
  • Prolonged glucocorticoid therapy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Malabsorptive disorders

You should not have a bone density measurement within seven days of having any of the following tests:

  • Bone scan
  • Angiogram
  • CAT scan with contrast
  • Myelogram
  • Nuclear cardiology testing
  • Wear clothing that is comfortable and easy to remove. You may be asked to change into a gown before the scan.
  • On the day of your appointment, do not take calcium supplements before the scan.
  • You will be asked to lie on a table on your back for five to 10 minutes.

A specialist will review the test results and send them to your physician, who will give you the results.