Dexa (Body Composition Scan)

What is a DEXA Body Composition scan and what does it do?

DEXA stands for (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) which is used to assess your bone density and well as your body composition. DEXA uses an x-ray technique to look at the density of the body and can then estimate the amount of lean muscle mass and fat tissue.

Importance of Your Body Fat Percentage

A person can have a lot of muscle, but be considered “over-weight” by many height/weight charts. The opposite can also be true – a person can have a lot of fat and little muscle and be “over-fat” but not overweight.

Too little body fat is linked to problems with normal, healthy functioning in both men and women. It can also lead to problems with reproduction in women.

Too much body fat, especially when located around the abdomen, increases the risk of many diseases, including the following:

  • Type II diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Certain cancers
  • For many athletes, performance is improved with optimal body composition.

By knowing your body fat percentage, and the range it falls in, you can take measures to improve your health and reduce your risk for various diseases.

Who performs the test?

The examination is performed by a licensed Radiologic Technologist.

Where does it take place?

Outpatient Center Hudnall Building, Room 110, located adjacent to the hospital.

How long does it take?

Average scan takes about 20 minutes.

What you can do to make it a success?

  • DEXA exam table weight limit is 300 lbs and height limit is 6’. If you weigh over 300 pounds or are taller than 6 foot, you cannot have a Body Composition Scan.
  • Inform technologist prior to exam if there is a possibility of pregnancy.
  • You will have to wait 3 to 7 days before undergoing a DEXA study if you recently had a barium examination or have been injected with a contrast material for a computed tomography scan (CT) or radioisotope scan (Nuclear Medicine) as these would interfere with your results.

What should I do before the exam?

On the day of the exam you may eat normally. You should wear loose, comfortable clothing, avoiding garments that have zippers, belts or buttons made of metal. You will be asked to remove objects such as keys or wallets that would be in the area being scanned. You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam.

What happens during the exam?

You will be asked to lie down on a padded table. An imaging device, or detector, is positioned above you and slowly passes over your body several times, generating images on a computer monitor. You must hold very still while the x-ray picture is taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image.

What should I do after the exam?

You may resume your normal activity after your exam. Your body composition results will be given to you to keep.


Contact Information:

To schedule: (850) 718-2552
DEXA Department at OP Center: (850) 718-2585 or (850) 718-2595
Radiology Department (at hospital): (850) 718-2580

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