[ dee-x-ay skan ]

A DEXA scan is a medical imaging test that uses a low-dose X-ray to measure the density of bones and tissues in the body. DEXA stands for "dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry," which means that the test uses two X-ray beams of different energy levels to measure bone mineral density (BMD) and body composition.

DEXA scans are non-invasive, painless, and generally take 10-20 minutes to complete. The test exposes the patient to a low dose of radiation, which is typically considered safe for most people. DEXA scans are commonly performed on postmenopausal women, older adults, and people with risk factors for osteoporosis, but may also be used for other medical conditions.


DEXA was invented by a group of scientists and researchers led by John A. Kanis, a British epidemiologist and osteoporosis expert. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Kanis and his team developed and refined the technique of using two X-ray beams of different energies to measure bone mineral density.