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A non-invasive, accurate, inexpensive way of detecting osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is not just a disease of the frail elderly. Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that occurs when there is a depletion of bone calcium and protein.

Bone Density Scans for Adults (DXA)

25 million Americans have osteoporosis, nearly 80% of which are women. Said another way, 1 in 4 women has osteoporosis, making them 10 times more likely to suffer from this disease than men. The determining risk factors include:

  • 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

In the past, osteoporosis could be detected only after patient broke a bone. By that time, however, the bones could be quite weak. A bone density test (DXA) is a non-invasive, accurate and inexpensive way to know a patient’s risk of breaking bones before the fact. It uses X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone. The bones that are most commonly tested are located in the spine, hip and forearm. The procedure takes 15-30 minutes and requires a signed physician referral.

Wake Radiology 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 .

Calculate your risk of fracturebutton-link

Bone density scans and insurance

DXA is covered under the Affordable Care Act of 2010, with no cost sharing (ACA covered preventive services for Medicare as of January 1, 2011). Medicare Part B medical insurance covers this once every 24 months or more often if medically necessary. All qualified people with Medicare who are at risk for osteoporosis and meet one of the following five criteria are covered:

  • A woman whose doctor is treating her for estrogen-deficiency and at risk for osteoporosis based on her medical history or other findings.
  • A person with vertebral abnormalities as demonstrated by an X-ray.
  • A person getting 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 or may not cover the cost of the scan. Coverage will likely be based on the referring physician’s assessment of a patient’s risk factors. Wake Radiology recommends that patients check with their insurance carrier before scheduling their bone density scan to confirm coverage and payment.

Badges of Honor

Wake Radiology is proud to have received the highest accreditations possible from the American College of Radiology (ACR).
Learn about our accreditations!

Wake Radiology is the clear choice for radiology services.


Triangle residents prefer Wake Radiology over any other imaging group.*


of patients would recommend Wake Radiology to a friend (far exceeding national averages).**

*Public Policy Polling. **The Ask Your Patient Survey, 2014.

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