DEXA Body Composition Analysis

DEXA Body Composition Analysis

DEXA is the gold standard for the most accurate assessment for body composition (muscle/fat percentage including visceral fat).

What is DEXA Body Composition Analysis?

DEXA Body Composition Analysis is an imaging technique that uses two low-dose beams (x-ray) with varied levels of energy to produce a graphic image of the human body’s components.  This is used mostly to measure the bone mineral density.

Types of DEXA Body Composition Analysis:

  • Central DEXA – Patient lies on a soft table. The scanner passes over the spine and hips.
  • Peripheral DEXA- A smaller machine that measures the bone density of the wrist, fingers, legs, or heels.

Reasons to use a DEXA Body Composition Analysis:

  • Concerns for Osteoporosis
  • Measuring  exact bone, fat, and lean tissue content
  • Total analysis of body composition

How does DEXA Body Composition Analysis work?

DEXA Body Composition Analysis is conducted by a DEXA machine that sends a thin, invisible beam of low-dose x-rays that have two energy peaks through the bones being x-rayed.  The first peak is absorbed mostly by soft tissue and the second peak is absorbed by the bone. The amount of absorption in the soft tissue can be subtracted from the total of what remains in the bones and this measures the bone mineral density.

Risks in having the DEXA Body Composition Analysis done:

  • Ionizing radiation
  • Getting the effective dose without going over

Benefits in having the DEXA Body Composition Analysis done:

  • A young adult scan can be easily compared as patient ages
  • DEXA Body Composition Analysis uses much lower doses of radiation
  • DEXA Body Composition Analysis is the equivalent to two days of exposure to radiation compared with a regular x-ray that is equivalent to three days of exposure
  • The tunnel is not enclosed in any way so patient will not feel claustrophobic
  • Analysis usually takes only five minutes and patient goes home immediately after it is administered

What results does the DEXA Body Composition Analysis show?

The DEXA Body Composition Analysis shows a compared bone density with what should be an expected density for a young heathy adult of the patient’s own age, gender, and ethnicity.  The measurement used is known as a T-score and the difference between the patient and the healthy score is known as the Z-score.

Why do physicians order the DEXA Body Composition Analysis?

DEXA Body Composition Analysis measures the strength of the bones.  It is a kind of x-ray that doctors order every few years to determine bone-density.  The main purpose of this analysis is to find and treat serious bone loss, otherwise known as osteoporosis and to prevent fractures and disability.

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