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Frequently Asked Questions | Overview

What does DXA stand for?

DXA stands for Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry.

Why is DXA the preferred method for evaluating my child's bone density?

DXA is:

  • safe
  • fast
  • precise
  • low in cost

DXA is also the most widely available method for measuring bone density.

However, DXA is not perfect and has limitations. Therefore, this specialized test should be performed at an experienced center and the results carefully interpreted by an expert in the field.

Does a DXA scan hurt?

DXA is a painless, non-invasive procedure. There are no injections or medications involved. Also, the DXA scanner is an open machine and patients are not enclosed at any time. At Boston Children's Hospital, the DXA scan takes place in a private, child-friendly room.

How much radiation will I be exposed to when I get my DXA?

The dose of radiation used in a DXA scan depends on the type and number of scans you are having. However, for all scan types, the dose is very low. Even for multiple scans, the dose is minimal when compared to the amount of natural background radiation the average person living in the United States is exposed to every day.

Did you know?

You are exposed to more radiation on a Los-Angeles-New York-Los Angeles flight than getting a DXA scan!

Where can I get a DXA?

DXA scans are performed on the main campus at Boston Children's Hospital.

How do I order a DXA scan?

The Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) request form should be completed by the primary care provider or the referring doctor who is requesting a bone density test. This request form is used by the doctor specializing in bone health and the technologists to help identify which skeletal sites will be scanned for a patient.

DXA cannot be performed without a DXA request form. The DXA request form may be substituted with an electronic order in PowerChart by a Boston Children's provider. Outside providers should use the link below and then fax it back to the number listed on the requisition.

We will have to cancel a patient's appointment within 24 hours if the DXA request form is not received prior to that date.