Six Questions to Ask Before a DXA Scan

Pam Flores @phflores Health Guide
  • Thinking about having a DXA Scan?  Here's some important things you should know.


    • Can I take oral calcium the day of my scan?


    Do not take supplemental calcium 24 hours before your test.  Undissolved calcium can cause an artifact (shadow) on the scan, so it's best to skip your calcium dose the day before the test.


    1. I have body piercings; do they need to be removed?


    Remove all jewelry because the metal can affect the bone density reading.  Also, clothes with zippers, underwire bras, piercing jewelry and any clothing with metal should be removed before you have the scan.


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    1. I just had a contrast CT scan; can I have a DXA after exposure to radioactive dye?


    If you've already had this test you should wait 7 days for a DXA.  You should try to have this scan before you have oral, rectal or IV contrast dye; but if you can't do that then waiting a week is the recommendation for this scan.


    1. If I have an artificial hip or spinal hardware can you scan that area?


    If you have metal at these sites, a wrist (radius) or heel scan can be done instead.   


    1. Can I eat before the scan?


    Yes, you can eat your normal meal.  A full stomach doesn't have an affect on bone density scans.


    1. Can I take my medications before the DXA scan?


    Yes, take your medications as you normally would before your DXA scan



    Understanding Your T-score


    Normal Bone:  Any score above -1.0


    Low Bone Density (osteopenia):  Any score between -1.0 and -2.5


    Osteoporosis:  Any score below -2.5









Published On: March 21, 2012