DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) Scan

Mater Private Network, Eccles Street, Dublin 7, D07 WKW8, Ireland 1800 69 16 16 Outside ROI +353 (0)51 595 109

Please note that a referral letter is required before an appointment can be confirmed.

Mater Private Network, Citygate, Mahon, Cork, T12 K199, Ireland 021 601 3256

Please note that a referral letter is required before an appointment can be confirmed.

Useful Information


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DEXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) scan

Osteoporosis is a condition which reduces the density of bones making them more fragile and more susceptible to fractures. A dexa scan is a simple test used to determine bone density. It is the most frequently used test to determine if bone loss has occurred and helps us to determine your risk of sustaining a fracture from a fall.

What you should know

  • You should not have a DEXA scan if you have had a scan in the previous ten days in which you had to drink contrast dye or barium (such as that used in CT scans or fluoroscopy studies).
  • It is helpful if you wear comfortable clothes without any metal such as zips, underwires, metal buttons etc.
  • Inform the scheduling team when you are making your appointment if you have significant mobility issues such as requiring a hoist to transfer to the scanner bed.
  • Let the radiographer know if there is any chance you might be pregnant.
  • You will be asked to remove any clothing containing metal or jewellery from the areas being scanned.
  • You will lie on your back on the scan table as the scanner moves over you. Typically your lower back and a hip are scanned. Occasionally your forearm may be scanned.
  • You will need to stay very still for the duration of your scan.

There are no precautions to follow after your scan. You can eat and drink normally, drive and can return to work immediately after your appointment if necessary.

Your scan will be reported by a consultant radiologist. The results will be sent directly to your referring doctor.

We are all exposed to natural background radiation every day. Medical exposures give a small additional dose on top of natural radiation. 

The amount of radiation received during a DEXA scan is very low, typically 0.1uSv. DEXA scans are accurate, fast and safe.

  X-Rays- How safe are they (pdf) | 326KB