Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is a technology that uses a very low amount of X-ray energy to detect the presence of osteoporosis. Bone mineral content tends to begin declining in people who are in their mid-30s or older, and the loss of bone tissue accelerates in women after menopause. Reduction of mineral content, characterized by porous and brittle bones, is known as osteoporosis. It’s a potentially serious condition because it makes bones more vulnerable to fractures and ultimately can lead to diminished mobility and independence.

DEXA scanning can identify low bone density in patients at an early stage, enabling doctors to prescribe appropriate treatment before the condition worsens. Images of the lower spine and hips are most often used in checking for osteoporosis.

What to Expect

You will be asked to lie quietly on your back on a padded table while a movable arm passes over your body. A technician will remain with you and you will feel no sensations from the exam, which typically takes 15 to 30 minutes.

How to Prepare

When you schedule your appointment, we will inform you about any specific preparations depending upon the specific procedure your doctor has ordered. Please contact the Scheduling Department at 949.764-5573 if you have any questions.

Wear comfortable clothing without metal belts, buttons or zippers.

You must not take any calcium supplements, liquid calcium, herbal calcium supplements, tums or antacids 48 hours prior to the exam. Failure to follow the calcium instructions will result in patient being rescheduled

Please complete, print out and bring with you the following forms to your appointment:

  • Bone Densitometry Pt History Questionnaire - Download PDF
  • Outpatient Medication Reconciliation form (for Breast Center and Interventional Procedures -Download PDF


Locations where Hoag provides DEXA services