Medical Definition of DXA

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

DXA: Dual X-ray absorptometry. A technique for scanning bone and measuring bone mineral density (BMD). A DXA scanner is a large machine that produces 2 X-ray beams, each with different energy levels. One beam is high energy while the other is low energy. The amount of x-rays that pass through the bone is measured for each beam. This will vary depending on the thickness of the bone. Based on the difference between the 2 beams, the bone density can be measured. DXA is relatively easy to perform and the amount of radiation exposure is considered low. DXA is also called dual energy X-ray absorptometry or DEXA.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018