OrthoVirginia Patient Center

Bone Density Test (DXA Scan)

Specialized tests called bone mineral density (BMD) tests can measure bone density in various sites of the body.  Experts recommend a type of BMD test using a central DXA (which stands for dual energy x-ray absorptiometry).

A BMD test performed by a central DXA can:

  • Tell if a person has low bone density before a fracture occurs
  • Tell if a person’s bones are losing bone density or staying the same when the test is repeated at intervals of one year or more
  • Predict the chances that a person will have a fracture in the future
  • Help a person and his or her healthcare provider decide if treatment is needed

Who should be tested?

  • Postmenopausal woman generally every 2 years
  • A man age 50-70 with one or more risk factors for osteoporosis
  • A man age 70 or older, even without any risk factors
  • Anyone who has broken a bone with minimal trauma, such as a ground level fall
  • People who have used certain medications long-term including steroids