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The latest DEXA whole body scanning technology is now available in the Busselton region. The most current innovation in bone densitometry and body composition with the lowest dose.The MediDR System employs a very low dose dual energy x-ray absorptiometry to measure Bone Mineral Density (BMD), Bone Mineral Content (BMC), T-score, Z-score and Area.

Indications for the BMD test include:

  • Measurement of bone density of patients aged 70 years or older;

  • Confirmation of clinical diagnosis low bone density following fracture after minimal trauma;

  • Monitoring of proven low bone density and assessment of bone loss associated with certain chronic diseases and prolonged glucocorticoid therapy.

The new scanner is capable of scan times <1 minute and all Medicare rebated studies are bulk billed.

DEXA (Bone Densitometry)

What is a DEXA scan?

Bone densitometry, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or DEXA, uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body (usually the lower spine and hips) to measure bone density or bone loss. It is the most accurate method used for diagnosing osteoporosis and to assess an individual’s risk for developing fractures. DEXA is simple, quick and non-invasive.

Scanning of the axial skeleton by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry is the gold standard in Australia for the measurement of bone mineral density, enabling doctors to determine the extent of bone loss for clinical decision making.


Why do I need a DEXA scan?

Indications for DEXA

  • Measurement of bone density in patients age 70 years and older

  • Follow-up of low bone density or fractures with minimal trauma, follow-up of low bone density on therapy

  • Prolonged therapy with steroids, early menopause, male hypogonadism*

  • Measurement of bone density may be indicated in chronic diseases including chronic liver and kidney disease*

  • are a post-menopausal woman and not taking oestrogen.

  • have a personal or maternal history of hip fracture or smoking.

  • are a post-menopausal woman who is tall (over 5 feet 7 inches) or thin (less than 125 pounds).

  • are a man with clinical conditions associated with bone loss.

  • use medications that are known to cause bone loss, including corticosteroids such as Prednisone, various anti-seizure medications such as Dilantin and certain barbiturates, or high-dose thyroid replacement drugs.

  • have type 1 (formerly called juvenile or insulin-dependent) diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease or a family history of osteoporosis.

  • have high bone turnover, which shows up in the form of excessive collagen in urine samples.

  • have a thyroid condition, such as hyperthyroidism.

  • have a parathyroid condition, such as hyperparathyroidism.

  • have experienced a fracture after only mild trauma.

  • have had x-ray evidence of vertebral fracture or other signs of osteoporosis.

How is the procedure performed?

Bone density tests are a quick and painless procedure. In most cases you will be required to remove your clothing and put on a gown before the examination commences, as any metal objects such as zippers, belt buckles, bra wires and hooks may interfere with the x-ray images and can produce a false result. Your weight and height will also be recorded before the examination.

In the DEXA examination, which measures bone density in the hip and spine, the patient lies on a padded table. An x-ray generator is located below the patient and an imaging device, or detector, is positioned above. To assess the spine, the patient’s legs are supported on a padded box to flatten the pelvis and lower (lumbar) spine. To assess the hip, the patient’s foot is placed in a brace that rotates the hip inward. In both cases, the detector is slowly passed over the area, generating images on a computer monitor.

You must hold very still and may be asked to keep from breathing for a few seconds while the x-ray picture is taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image. The peripheral tests are simpler. The finger, hand, forearm or foot is placed in a small device that obtains a bone density reading within a few minutes.

Are there any side effects?

During your examination you will be exposed to a very small amount of radiation. The benefits of detecting disease are believed to far outweigh any potential risks from receiving such a small dose. The amount of radiation a DEXA scan emits is very low and significantly less than a chest x-ray!

Telemed has acquired the latest in modern DEXA systems that have very controlled x-ray beams and dose control methods to minimize stray (scatter) radiation. This ensures that those parts of a patient’s body not being imaged receive minimal radiation exposure. The technologist can sit just a few feet from you without a protective barrier because the levels are very low.

How long will the examination take?

The examination should take between 10 – 30 minutes, depending on the type of procedure you are having.

How do I get a scan?

You will need a referral from your Doctor to obtain this examination. Medicare has strict guidelines for the rebate of DEXA examinations. Please check with our staff when making your appointment to confirm if you are eligible for a Medicare rebate.

Australia’s bone health

An estimated 4.7 million Australians over the age of 50 currently have osteoporosis or osteopenia, with over 144,000 associated fractures (2013). Without major improvements in diagnosis and management, the rate of osteoporotic fracture will be around 30% higher by 2022, costing an estimated $33.6 billion over the next decade. In general practice, early detection can prevent a first fracture. For patients who have already fractured, investigation and initiation of osteoporosis medication is crucial to reduce the very high risk of subsequent fractures.

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