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Bone Density Scan (DEXA)

bone density scanBone density scanning, also called bone densitometry or a DEXA scan, is an enhanced ultra-low-dose form of x-ray technology that measures bone mineral density. DEXA scans help doctors diagnose both osteoporosis—a gradual loss of bone strength that makes bones more fragile and brittle—and osteopenia, lower-than-peak bone density that means you have a greater risk for developing osteoporosis.

Quick and noninvasive, a DEXA scan precisely measures the bone density in the most common fracture sites—usually the hip and lower spine--to identify risk for future fractures. Because osteoporosis generally has no symptoms, testing and early detection are key to effective treatment.

When are bone density scans recommended?

Bone density testing is recommended for all women over age 65, especially those not taking estrogen replacement therapy. Postmenopausal women younger than 65 who have other risk factors for osteoporosis such as a family history of fractures, low body weight, smoking or excessive drinking of alcohol, should also be tested.

What to expect during a bone density scan

No special preparation is required for this quick, painless, noninvasive test. Avoid taking calcium supplements 24 hours prior to your appointment.

Benefits and risks

Modern DEXA scanners use very low dose x-rays to identify risk for future fractures, so risk from radiation is extremely small. BCH demonstrates our dedication to providing the safest, highest quality Imaging services by having a specially trained medical physicist onsite full-time to regularly test and adjust all equipment to ensure our patients receive the smallest dose of radiation needed for any exam.

DEXA scans also allow doctors to evaluate how a patient is responding to treatment for osteoporosis by tracking small, incremental changes.

Schedule a Bone Density Scan Appointment

For your convenience, DEXA scanning is provided at locations in Boulder and Broomfield:

Imaging at Foothills Hospital
Medical Imaging Center of Broomfield

Paying for Services

BCH accepts most major insurance plans. Explore Self-Pay pricing options if you are uninsured or wish to pay directly for any service.

Questions About Your Bill?

For Billing and Payment information, click here.

Important Information

Boulder Community Health is following current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that call for patients and visitors to continue wearing masks at Foothills Hospital and all BCH patient-care facilities.

People 12 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. For updated Vaccine Clinic hours and general vaccine info, please visit our vaccine page.