Bone Densitometry – DEXA
Bone densiometry (or DEXA) is an enhanced form of x-ray technology that measures bone mineral density and determines the strength of bones. Certain medical conditions and medications can lead to a loss of bone density and osteoporosis, which is a gradual loss of calcium as well as structural changes. Bones become thinner, more fragile and more likely to break. As a doctor, you may wish to establish a baseline bone density for a patient, to determine any need for treatment or specialist assessment.
Medicare provides a rebate for medical conditions and symptoms it deems most relevant to bone densitometry studies, to enable a significant portion of the population inexpensive access. Depending on the medial conditions and symptoms, Medicare will only give a rebate for one scan in any two-year period. If your patient has had a scan during the last two years, please ask your patient to call a Lake Imaging practice to discuss what options are available.
Bone densitometry is performed at the following Lake Imaging locations:
- Geelong - East Court (see map) Request an appointment
- Melton – Unitt St (see map) Request an appointment
- North Melbourne (see map) Request an appointment
- Sunbury (see map) Request an appointment
- Wendouree - Howitt St (see map) Request an appointment
Before the scan
The patient will be asked a series of questions to determine if Medicare’s criteria for a rebate are met. If the patient answers “no” to all of the questions on the form, he or she unlikely to qualify.
There is no preparation required for bone densitometry.
During the scan
The scan is straightforward and painless. The patient will be asked to lie on a padded couch and keep very still for up to 25 minutes.
The radiation dose will depend on the study performed. However, the technologist will use the lowest dose necessary to achieve high quality images.
After the scan
A follow-up scan is usually performed every one to two years to determine the success of the treatment.
The patient can resume normal activities after the bone densitometry. Patients will be advised before they leave the department if there are any instructions to follow.
One of our radiologists will interpret the bone density scan and provide a comprehensive report about the findings. We will advise patients to return the doctor who referred them, to discuss the results.
If you are a registered a referrer you can access your patient’s digital x-rays, scans and reports through our secure online archival system, or view the films we provide. For more information about registering to access patient images visit the Request Access to online images section.
Any hardcopy images can be printed out for the patient to take back to their referrer. Reports are delivered within two (2) business days. If the patient needs to be reviewed on the day of the DEXA, the patient can wait for the films and we will fax or electronic download the results.
For more information about DEXA funding criteria visit the Medicare funding criteria section.