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DXA is a non-invasive, inexpensive way to detect osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is not just a disease of elderly. It's a chronic condition that occurs when you don't have enough bone calcium and protein.

Advanced Bone Density Scan with TBS 

Wake Radiology UNC REX is the first outpatient provider in the Triangle to offer a trabecular bone score (TBS) as a new, add-on service with a standard bone density (DXA) scan. TBS predicts osteoporotic fractures independent of bone mineral density (BMD) and clinical risk factors. This data improves management in patients with osteopenia and secondary osteoporosis.

  • SPEED & EFFICIENCY: Advanced DXA with TBS does not require additional imaging, time or radiation. The TBS is gathered during a routine DXA exam and takes 15-30 minutes.
  • ADVANCED PRECISION: A TBS provides information about the quality of bone structure and provides a more reliable prediction of fracture risk than a standard DXA scan.
  • DOCTOR REFERRAL NEEDED:  Your doctor can refer you for an advanced bone density scan that adds TBS. Your doctor’s assessment of your risk factors will help determine insurance coverage.

Bone Density Scans (DXA)

One in four women have osteoporosis. Out of the 25 million Americans who have osteoporosis, women are 10 times more likely than men to suffer from the disease. In the past, osteoporosis could only detected after a patient broke a bone.

A bone density test (DXA) is a non-invasive, accurate and inexpensive way to determine a patient’s risk of breaking bones before a fracture. A DXA scan uses X-rays to measure how much calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a bone.  The most commonly tested bones are the spine, hip and forearm. A DXA scan takes 15-30 minutes and requires a physician referral.

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

  • Advancing age
  • Low calcium intake
  • Female gender
  • Low Vitamin D
  • Caucasian or Asian
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Family history
  • Excessive caffeine
  • Small thin bones
  • Menopause
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Benefits of a Bone Density Scan

A bone densitometry scan can be beneficial for any any or gender.

  • Provides early detection that other tests miss
  • Can measure multiple sites of the body to determine the most appropriate treatments
  • Can estimate fracture risk
  • Is easily administered with a low radiation dose that is roughly equivalent to a cross-country airline flight

Prepare for a Bone Density Scan (DXA)

  • No solid pill containing calcium for 24 hours prior to the scan
  • No IV contrast, barium studies or nuclear medicine studies for three weeks prior to the scan

ISCD Accredited

Wake Radiology UNC REX is the only imaging group in the Triangle to be certified by the International Society of Clinical Densitometry (ISCD) for bone density exams. All DXA studies are read by fellowship-trained orthopedic radiologists who are ISCD certified .

Bone Density Scans and insurance

DXA is covered under most insurance plans and Medicare as long as patients meet a specific criteria. Some insurance carriers cover a DXA scan every 24 months or as medically needed. :

  • A woman who is being treated for estrogen deficiency and is at risk for osteoporosis based on medical history or other findings.
  • A person with vertebral abnormalities as demonstrated by an X-ray.
  • A person receiving steroid treatments.
  • A person with hyperparathyroidism.
  • A person taking an osteoporosis drug.

For patients who do not meet the above criteria, some insurance companies may still cover the cost of the scan. Coverage is likely based on the referring physician’s assessment of a patient’s risk factors. Wake Radiology UNC REX recommends confirming coverage and payment with your insurance carrier before scheduling a bone density scan.

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