DEXA bone density scan

A DEXA scan is a test using X-rays to determine how strong and dense bones are. Bone that is less dense can be more prone to fracture. DEXA scans can be used to diagnose osteoporosis.


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What is it for?

A test using X-rays to determine how strong and dense bones are

Diagnostic overview

DEXA means ‘dual energy X-ray absorptiometry'. This test measures the density of bone. If bone is very dense, it will only let a certain amount of X-rays pass through it. Less dense bone will let more X-ray pass through.

The machine will send low dose X-rays from two different sources through the bone as this improves accuracy.

A detector measures the density of the X-rays that have passed through the body and sends this information to a computer that produces an image of the area scanned and calculates the density of the bone.

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Exceptional patient care is a way of life for us. Our nurses, clinicians and support teams are dedicated to the care of a very small number of patients, so have more time for you. They’ll be with you every step of the way, tailoring your care around you and giving the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing you’re in the best hands.

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Choosing The London Clinic means your treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.


Your treatment package will include:

  • Enhanced pre-admission assessment
  • Your treatment with our complete care team at your fingertips
  • Personalised aftercare and follow-up

We want you to be in control of your health. That’s why we also offer optional services such as comprehensive recovery packages and extra touches for you to choose from during your stay with us.

How to pay

  • You can use private medical insurance (PMI) to access this treatment. We work with all major PMI providers in the UK and many internationally
  • You can pay for yourself (self-pay)
  • If you’re paying for yourself, we have finance options available with Chrysalis


Before the start of the scan your height and weight will be measured.

You will lie on the couch on your back while the scans are performed. The scanner arm moves across your body while scanning but does not touch you. The scan will usually take 30 minutes.

Your results will be analysed by our consultant radiologist and a report and a copy of your scans will be sent to your referring clinician.

A DEXA scan may be advised if you are at increased risk of osteoporosis. 

Osteoporosis leads to increased risk of breaking bones although usually does not cause immediate symptoms. DEXA scans may help to diagnose this condition.

DEXA scans may also be recommended if you:

  • Have disorders related to osteoporosis such as rheumatoid arthritis or coeliac disease
  • Have a family history on your mother’s side of hip fracture
  • Have been taking steroids for three months or more
  • Experienced an early menopause (under 45 years old)
  • Experienced periods stopping (amenorrhoea) a year before the menopause
  • Are very underweight (body mass index or BMI of under 19)
  • Have suffered a fall or injury resulting in a fracture
  • Have fractured a vertebra (back bone) resulting in a loss of height


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