What is the role of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in the workup of osteoporosis?

Updated: Sep 26, 2019
  • Author: Monique Bethel, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

DXA is used to calculate BMD at the lumbar spine, hip, and proximal femur (see the images below). Densitometric spine imaging can be performed at the time of DXA scanning to detect vertebral fractures. Vertebral fracture assessment (VFA) is not available with all DXA machines. When available, VFA should be considered when the results may influence clinical management of the patient. [108] Peripheral DXA is used to measure BMD at the wrist; it may be most useful in identifying patients at very low fracture risk who require no further workup.

Example of a dual energy x-ray absorption (DXA) sc Example of a dual energy x-ray absorption (DXA) scan. This image is of the left hip bone. Source: Government of Western Australia Department of Health.
Example of a dual energy x-ray absorption (DXA) sc Example of a dual energy x-ray absorption (DXA) scan. This image is of the lumbar spine. Source: Government of Western Australia Department of Health.

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