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Bone Density Testing

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Bone density scans, or Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA), is the "gold standard" test used to predict your risk for osteoporosis-related fractures. This test, along with known risk factors, helps your doctor determine whether you are at risk of sustaining a serious fracture. For your convenience, Geisinger has both stationary locations and mobile scanning.

DXA is the greatest single predictor of fracture risk. Patients are positioned on a table by a certified technologist, then the highly sensitive scanning equipment uses sound waves to measure the density of your spine and hip. Your rheumatologist evaluates the images and any other risk factors to develop a treatment plan just for you. The test is quick, safe and painless.

A DXA scan must be ordered by the physician. You should have this test if you:

  • Are a post-menopausal woman (either naturally, due to surgery, or other factors)
  • Take prednisone medication*
  • Have lost height*
  • Have signs of osteoporosis on routine X-rays*
  • Have a compression fracture of the spine on routine X-rays*
  • Have had a fracture in your adult life that is not from a major injury*
  • Have had an abnormal or inconclusive screening study, such as heel ultrasound
  • Are already on osteoporosis treatment medicine, for monitoring purposes (generally every two to three years, more frequently if you are on steroids)*
  • Have other clinical risk factors of concern to your doctor*
  • Are a man with abnormal X-ray or hunched-over posture
*this applies to women and men

Mobile DXA Units

Geisinger operates two Mobile Osteoporosis DXA Units, RVs with state-of-the-art scanners that travel throughout the region. Our mobile program also includes education on risk factors, prevention, and self-care. Click to see the many areas where we provide DXA outreach.

All Geisinger DXA sites are certified by the International Society of Clinical Densitometry (ISCD), which means you can be assured that your test will be performed and interpreted by the most highly skilled professionals, all dedicated to improving your bone health.