Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA)

What is the DXA procedure and what is it used for?

A DXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) examination allows the examiner to measure a patient’s bone density, and to thereby identify if the patient is suffering from Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a common disease of old age that makes the patient’s bones more prone to breaking. The disease, also called bone atrophy, is characterised by the lack of bone mass among patients and abnormally rapid degradation of the bone tissue and structure. This increased risk of fracture may effect the patient’s entire skeleton. Almost half the population of over-70s are affected by the disease (with women twice as likely to suffer from it as men), but it may also occur in younger people as a result of calcium deficiency or other ailments.

Effects on patients

DXA is now an established method for measuring bone density in the lumbar vertebrae and the neck of the femur. The procedure takes about 30 minutes.

How does DXA work?

Measurements of bone density are carried out in our clinic using highly sophisticated devices that emit extremely low-intensity X-rays. This diagnostic method is considered by specialists to be the most precise procedure available for recognizing osteoporosis as early as possible. It should also be said that a transatlantic flight will expose Exposure to radiationtravellers to a substantially higher level of radiation than a DXA scan.
This method uses the reduced intensity of an already very weak X-ray to calculate bone density. The procedure involves releasing two low-energy X-rays of differing intensity into the relevant section of the skeleton. Through this method, the share of radiation absorbed by soft tissues can be subtracted from the portion absorbed by bones – thus allowing specialists to calculate bone density.

Other remarks

DXA measurement (whose cost factor is about €40 to 50) is only financed by statutory health insurers in particular well-defined cases, i.e. in cases of:

  • Bone fracture
  • An underlying Osteoporosisillness
  • Particular gastrointestinal ailments (Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, malabsorption)
  • Ingestion of cortizone over an extended period
  • An ailment of the parathyroid gland