Benefits and Risks – Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA, previously DEXA)


  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA, previously DEXA) is a simple, quick and noninvasive procedure.
  • No anesthesia is required.
  • The amount of radiation used is extremely small—less than one-tenth the dose of a standard chest x-ray, and less than a day's exposure to natural radiation.
  • DXA testing is the most accurate method available for the diagnosis of osteoporosis and is also considered an accurate estimator of fracture risk.
  • DXA equipment is widely available making bone densitometry testing convenient.
  • No radiation remains in a patient's body after an x-ray examination.
  • X-rays usually have no side effects in the typical diagnostic range for this exam.


  • There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.
  • Women should always inform their SMIL radiologist if there is any possibility that they could be pregnant.
  • The effective radiation dose for this procedure varies.
  • No complications are expected with DXA.

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