Bone Density Scan (DEXA scan)

What is a bone density scan?

A bone density scan uses low dose X-rays to see how dense (or strong) your bones are. You may also hear it called a DEXA scan.

DEXA scans are often used to diagnose or assess your risk of osteoporosis, a health condition that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break. It often goes undiagnosed until a fall or sudden impact causes a bone to break or fracture.

As well as being quick and painless, a bone density scan is more effective than normal X-rays in identifying low bone density.

Who is likely to need a DEXA scan?

There are lots of reasons why you might need a bone density scan.

  • If you have fallen more than 12 weeks ago and broken your wrist, hip of spinal bones
  • If you have frailty
  • If you are suspected to or have coeliac disease. (A condition where your immune system attacks your own tissues when you eat gluten. Read more here: Coeliac disease – NHS (
  • If you have an underactive thyroid gland. This is a condition where your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. Read more here: Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) – NHS (

What happens at your DEXA scan appointment?

You will be invited to the hospital’s Community Diagnostics Centre located in The Glass Works Shopping Centre which is easily accessible by public transport and car. More information on the CDC can be found here: Community Diagnostic Centre – Barnsley Hospital

All DEXA scan appointments now take place at the CDC. If you are unable to walk long distance do not worry our new site is easily accessible with ramps and lifts no matter how you get here.

Your appointment will last approximately 30 minutes.

Before you arrive, we ask you fill out a quick questionnaire which we will run through with you at your appointment (this will come with your appointment letter, so please fill out as much of this as you can before your appointment).

We also ask you not to wear any metallic items such as jewellery and belts. If you wish to do so you can remove these items whilst at your appointment.

Below is a short video which demonstrates what you can expect at your appointment.

How will I receive my results?

You should receive your results in approximately X weeks after your appointment. These will be shared with you by whoever referred you to our service.

If you were referred by your GP your GP will contact you with your results. If you had a fall and sent to hospital and were than referred on by a clinician at the hospital, they will contact you with the results.

If you are unsure who referred you for your DEXA scan please speak to our team who can help.

Further information

For further information about DEXA scans can be found: Bone density scan (DEXA scan) – NHS ( or call: 01226434320.

Accessibility & Travel Information

Click here for accessibility information and directions for visiting the Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA). This page also includes printable guides for your convenience.

Community Diagnostic Centre
Practical details for anyone attending an appointment at our CDC.