Register your interest for speedy access to a private bone density scan (DEXA scan) near you, and we'll be in touch when we're open for bookings.
Our DEXA packages include an expert clinician consultation, your chosen scan at a convenient location, and speedy online results - all for one affordable price.
A Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan (also known as a bone densitometry, DEXA or DXA scan) is a low-dose form of an X-ray. It is used to check the density (strength) of your bones to assess your risk of osteoporosis, a condition which can cause bone weakness or bone loss, making you prone to breaks and fractures. It is most commonly carried out on the spine or hip, but other body areas may be included.
The spine is checked for bone weakness and bone thinning. Your legs will be supported on a padded box, which lets your pelvis and lower spine (lumbar) lie flat.
The hip is scanned as it has a higher break and fracture risk from osteoporosis. Your foot will be positioned in a brace or strap to rotate the hip inward for imaging.
Your forearm may be scanned if you have a hip replacement, or cannot lie flat for a spine scan. The same machine or smaller peripheral devices may be used on the hand, wrist or forearm.
DEXA scans can be used in research to measure the composition of fat, lean soft tissue, and bone mineral density of your whole body, but is rarely used on patients in clinical settings.
A DEXA scan is a bone density test, used for monitoring and diagnosing osteoporosis, brittle bones, or bone loss. This is important because osteoporosis has virtually no symptoms until a bone breaks. The DEXA machine emits low-dose X-rays at varying strengths (dual energy), which pass through different tissues more easily than others. This creates images of the bones, and bone density can be measured by comparing the differences between images created with different strengths of X-ray.
A DEXA scan can create an image in less than a minute, but the entire test can take around 20 minutes. This is because you may need to be positioned differently between images, or have more than one body area scanned. In order to create your bone density measurement score, your height and weight will also need to be measured.
You'll be weighed and have your height measured, and will then be asked to lie on your back on a padded platform positioned below the DEXA machine's arm. The arm may be moved above your body, usually over your hip or lumbar spine (lower back). Your radiographer might use blocks or straps to ensure your body is angled correctly for the best quality images. This should not cause discomfort, and the scan is over quickly.
We recommend wearing soft, comfortable clothing with no metal fastenings such as hooks, zips or buttons for your DEXA scan. This is so that you can lie down comfortably on the padded table, and no metal objects will obstruct or reduce the quality of the images. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown.
Your test results will be given to you as a score, called a T-Score, which compares your bone density to a healthy 30-year-old's. You may also be given a Z-Score, which compares your bone density measurements to a normal score for somebody of your age group and size. A T-score of -1.0 or above is considered normal bone density, while between -1.0 and -2.5 indicates low bone density, or osteopenia. If your T-Score is -2.5 or lower, then you have osteoporosis and would have an increased risk of future fractures. If you have low bone mass, it does not always mean you will develop osteoporosis, especially if you do not continue to lose bone density which can be shown with regular DEXA monitoring.
A DEXA scan is considered the Gold Standard test to measure bone density, and the most accurate way to diagnose osteoporosis. This is the specific use of a DEXA scan, with results provided as a specific DEXA score, so it is not recommended for the diagnosis of bone cancer, arthritis or other musculoskeletal disorders. Although, a DEXA scan may still be included in your treatment or monitoring plan.
When you book a private DEXA scan with Scan.com you'll receive a full end-to-end package of care for £125. The cost of a DEXA scan varies depending on the pricing set by the individual scanning centres.
Quick and easy referral process, with support from a dedicated expert clinician
Your DEXA scan, at a selected location near you
Digital access to your radiologist's report, and the option to request copies of your images as required
If there are any next steps or adverse findings, our expert clinicians will provide a post-scan phone consultation to explain your DEXA scan results and treatment options
Select a scan type and convenient location, and make payment to secure your booking. Within 2 days, you'll receive a phone consultation with an expert clinician, who will ask you about your symptoms, and complete your scan referral.
After referral, your chosen scanning site will call you to offer a choice of appointment times. Some of our sites allow appointment pre-selection at the point of booking. If you've already selected a time, we'll email to confirm it at this stage.
The expert radiographers, sonographers and patient care staff at your selected partner centre will answer any queries and complete your scan. After your scan, the images will be prepared and sent to a highly qualified radiologist for reporting.
Our clinicians will receive your report, and email a copy to you. You can also request copies of your images if needed for onward care. If any abnormalities are found, our clinicians will contact you to discuss your results and next steps.
If you have any questions about booking an DEXA scan with us, visit our FAQ guide.
Can't see an answer to your question? Our friendly patient care team are happy to help.
DEXA scans do cause ionizing radiation exposure, though the risks are extremely low. Tests using ionizing radiation, such as a CT scan or DEXA scan are generally not recommended for pregnant women unless the benefits strongly outweigh the risks of not having the test. This is because an unborn baby is at an increased risk of being affected by the radiation, though the assumed risk to a foetus is still extremely low.
Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones and puts you at a higher risk of broken bones and fractures. Risk factors for developing osteoporosis include a family history of osteoporosis or hip fractures, low body weight or BMI, or if you already have rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease, or chronic liver disease. Bone density tests like DEXA scans can help assess and monitor your risk of osteoporosis. This is important as it's not usually clear whether someone has osteoporosis until they suffer a break or fracture, from even a minor fall or incident. Check out these related links for more information about osteoporosis.
A key benefit of booking with Scan.com is that you do not need a GP referral to access our services. There is also no self-referral process. Instead, our in-house medical team will contact you once you have booked and made payment for your scan. Our clinicians will ask you for all of the relevant information they need to compile a referral on your behalf, which is then passed on to your chosen scanning site.
Yes, we do offer cancellations and refunds, though depending on the status of your booking this may incur a £50 cancellation fee. For more information, visit our terms and conditions.
Meet our team of expert radiologists, osteopaths, physiotherapists and general practitioners. They're here to provide the highest standards of care throughout your scanning journey.
Dr. Khalid Latief
BMSc, MBChB, FRCP, FRCR
We're the UK's largest diagnostic imaging provider, and we offer a wide range of scan types to suit your needs.
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