Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DEXA, measures bone mineral density, which is related to bone strength. This is not the same as a bone scan. A DEXA scanner is a machine that produces two X-ray beams, each with different energy levels. One beam is high energy while the other is low energy. The amount of X-rays that pass through the bone is measured for each beam. This will vary depending on the thickness of the bone. Based on the difference between the two beams, the bone density can be measured.

DEXA scans are very important because they help physicians find osteoporosis before a fracture occurs.


This is a noninvasive test and requires very little preparation. If you are taking calcium supplements, stop taking them for 48 hours before the test. If you are taking any medications for osteopenia or osteoporosis, do not take the day of your test. You may eat and drink normally on the day of the test.

Appointments available: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday. For more information call 574-946-2136.

The day of your appointment

  • Please arrive 20 minutes prior to your scheduled time so that you may complete the registration process.
  • Once the registration process is complete, you will be directed to the Diagnostic Imaging Department and a registered technologist will bring you to the exam room.
  • Do not wear perfume or lotion.
  • You may wear your own clothes, but they cannot have metal, buttons, zippers, or snaps-elastic pants and a slip-on shirt or a sweat suit are recommended.
  • You will be helped onto an exam table. The scan will last approximately 15 minutes.

The results of your scan will be forwarded to your referring healthcare provider who will then discuss them with you.