Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) recommendations


Q: I took a bone density test and it showed i have osteopenia. They only did my arm and foot for the results. Should I take a test of my spine too for a more conclusive report?


A:   The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that the diagnosis of osteoporosis be made using measurements of DEXA at the femoral neck. However, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) and the International Society for Clinical Densitometry (ISCD) suggest that the diagnosis of osteoporosis be made by DEXA using the lowest T-score of the lumbar spine (L1-L4), total proximal femur, or femoral neck. If the forearm is measured, then the 33 percent radius (one-third radius) may be used for diagnostic purposes if it is the lowest of the skeletal sites measured. If only your arm and foot were scanned, I would recommend another scan to include the femoral neck and lumbar spine.

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