Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA)

This is a scan that measures the density of bones. DXA stands for Dual energy X-ray Absorptiometry. This tells us about the strength of the bones and the risk of the bones breaking in the future.

A person looks at the camera whilst they lie on a DXA scanner.

Having a DXA scan

Here at Barnsley Hospital we have one DXA scanner which runs 1 or 2 days a week from 8:00am to 6:00pm.

Access to this service is via a consultant referral only, and is appointment based.

Get in touch

Call Medical Imaging on
01226 432550

Preparation for the scan 

Patients are asked to complete a screening questionnaire which will be sent out with the appointment letter. This questionnaire will provide us with information we might need to help assess the strength of the bones.

After booking in, patients will be asked to remove any garments containing metal such as zips, belts, corsets and underwired bras as well as any navel piercing. This is because metal interferes with the measurement. Patients may be required to change into a gown.

Female patients between the age of 12 and 55 will be asked questions related to their last menstrual period (LMP) prior to DXA scan examinations.

During the scan 

The Radiographer performing the test will explain what is going to happen and in what position we need the patient. When the lower spine is scanned the patient’s legs will be supported on a big cushion. Clear instructions will be provided prior to and throughout the examination.

Each scan takes 2 to 5 minutes and most patients will be finished in 20 minutes.

Can someone stay with me during the DXA Scan? 

 No, due to the exposure to ionising radiation, patients cannot be accompanied during the scan. Relatives and carers are welcome to stay in the main waiting area.

Are there any risks to having a DXA Scan?

DXA uses a very small amount of x-rays. The dose of x-rays is about the same as you would be exposed to naturally in a day and is much less than other medical tests such as a chest x-ray. It is, therefore, a very safe test.

When will the results be available?

The Radiographer will not be able to give patients their results. The x-rays will be studied by a Consultant or Advanced Practice Radiographer, specially trained in interpreting x-rays, who will send the results to the person that referred the patient. This normally takes no more than 7 days.

Accessibility and visiting the hospital

Visit the AccessAble website for accessibility information and directions for having a Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) at Barnsley Hospital