All our DXAs are performed in accordance with a stringent “Gold-standard” protocol. This assures our DXA scans are consistent from one patient to the next. To understand why this is so important or discover more about what to expect from a DXA, you can use this short but informative guide on DXAs at London Imaging Centre.
What is a DXA scan?
DXA stands for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. It is as safe and painless as a normal X-ray, but more accurate when measuring bone density. Generally, the denser your bones are, the stronger they are, and so less likely they are to break.
A DXA scan aims a low dose of X-rays at the bone and then calculates the mineral content – this provides an accurate measurement of density. It then compares the measurements to people of a similar age, weight, sex and ethnic background, meaning it is important to follow a consistent protocol with every patient. This is not possible with a normal X-ray.
What is a DXA scan used for?
DXA is very useful for detecting diseases that cause bone weakening or loss. Common examples are osteoporosis and brittle bones. Detecting bone loss early may allow further loss to be limited or even prevented.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is the medical term for depletion in bone mineral density. It affects around half of post-menopausal women. It results in progressive bone loss and this can increase the risk of fracture. If you’re concerned that you might be at risk of osteoporosis, should talk to your referring clinician.
What does a DXA involve?
We take a few general measurements such as height and weight. You then lie on a DXA bed and we perform the scan. It’s quick, easy and takes about 30 minutes from the moment you walk in the door.
Why use London Imaging Centre?
Far fewer imaging centres perform a DXA, than a normal X-ray. We are experts in performing bone density scans for osteoporosis and do so with considerable care and consistency. And to make things really simple, we’re conveniently located in the heart of the Harley Street district in Central London, just a few minutes walk from Oxford Circus or Bond Street station.
For further information about DXA, please visit the National Osteoporosis website at www.nos.org.uk and select ‘About Osteoporosis’ from the Main Menu.
How safe is a DXA scan?
Very safe. A DXA exposes you to less radiation than a normal X-ray, but like almost every medical procedures it comes with a small and negligible risk that you should be aware of. Throughout our daily lives we are exposed to a low level of background radiation that our body is designed to deal with. A DXA adds only a tiny amount to this. The amount of radiation you will be exposed to is the same as when you go on a transatlantic flight. Ultimately, your referring clinician will have weighed up the pros and cons, and decided the benefits of having a DXA far outweigh the risks.
Are there reasons why I can’t have a DXA SCAN?
A DXA is safe for the vast majority of people; however there are a few exceptions. You may be unable to have a scan, if you:
1. Are pregnant
Unborn children are at greater risk from X-ray exposure because they are still developing. If you are, or suspect, that you may be pregnant, you must tell your referring clinician and/ the DXA technician before the DXA is carried out. This will allow you to discuss the risks and sign an additional consent form. Be assured that any information you give is treated with the strictest confidence.
2. Have recently had a contrast X-ray (Barium meal or swallow)
3. Have severe arthritic or fracture deformity of the spine or femur
4. Have radio-opaque implants such as those used in hip replacements
5. Are unable to maintain one position and/or remain motionless for the duration of the measurement
If you think any of these may be you, then you should contact your referring clinician or give us a call.
What preparation do I need to do before my DXA?
There are just a few things to remember before your DXA appointment.
1. Fill out the safety questionnaire
You should receive this before your appointment by email. Once completed, please send it to back to us.
2. We kindly request you do not bring your children if they will be unsupervised during your scan
We do have an area where children can wait while you have your scan, however it is unsupervised. As such, it is preferable if children are not brought to our centre unless they are with another accompanying adult.
3. Arrive on time
We ask that you try to keep to your appointment time. Please don’t worry if you’re a few minutes late, but the later you are the greater the risk that we may not be able to carry out your test.
What happens when I arrive?
Our staff will be there to great you and guide you through the procedure. They’ll take you through three main steps.
As soon as you arrive, a member of staff will take your name and arrange for you to meet your DXA technician.
2. DXA technician consultation
Your technician will be highly trained at performing the DXA scan. The DXA technician will explain the entire procedure and double-check your answer to the safety questionnaire. If you have any concerns or questions then please let your technician know. You should inform him or her if you are pregnant, have had a contrast X-ray recently or have problems staying in one position for an extended period (see My Safety).
3. Metal object removal
You may have to remove jewellery if it will interfere with the image. We may also ask you to put on a gown, if your clothes have metal in them. There is a changing room, which can be locked to keep possessions safe.
How is the DXA scan performed?
A DXA scan is a safe and simple procedure:
- Have your measurements taken – These include your height and weight, which are then used to compare your DXA result with that of the general population.
- Get in position – You will be asked to lie on a DXA bed.
- Perform the scan – It is important you lie still during the DXA scan. The arm of the DXA scanner will pass over you.
- We’ll then check the quality of the images – Sometimes a patient moves during the scan. As such, the DXA technician will just need to check your results in case we need to repeat the examination.
How long does the DXA examination last?
The actual examination takes only a minute or two. The procedure will take up to 20 minutes from the time you arrive.
We’ve reduced the price of our DXA scans to help self-funders. Our current most affordable rate for a DXA scan is £65*.
DXAs are incredibly useful for catching diseases that can leave bones broken, but we don’t think having one should break the bank. We’ve lowered our DXA prices to make the scans affordable for self-funders. But rest assured that while the price may have lowered, the quality and consistency stays remarkably high.
What is included?
We offer two types of scan under our Affordable DXA service, with our current most affordable rate being only £65*. Both are performed under a stringent gold standard protocol to ensure consistency:
- DXA for the detection of osteoporosis – £65*
- DXA + Instant Vertebral Assessment (IVA) for the assessment of vertebral (spine) fractures – £99*
Done in just 30 minutes: Patients register, have a consolation with a DXA technician, who takes a few general measurements such as height and weight, and then have the DXA scan. It is quick, easy and takes just half an hour.
Consultant led: a Consultant Radiologist views all DXA scans and then creates a report. This is made available online to the referring clinician within 24 hours (one working day). Patients will be able to take away a printed copy of the scans.
If same day reporting is also required we may be able to provide this, however please give us a call on 020 7042 1888 to discuss.
A strong support service: our DXA technicians are trained to make patients feel at ease and stay informed before, during and after their scan.
Flexible booking: DXA appointments are available 9AM to 5PM, Monday to Friday
Conveniently located: we are conveniently located in the heart of the Harley Street medical district on Wimpole Street, just a few minutes walk from Oxford Circus or Bond Street station.
Enhanced DXA lifestyle Service
New to our DXA we have introduced a lifestyle report from an expert rheumatologist for a more complete service. We’re still affordable! We offer two types of scans for this service at great prices and available through our referral and self-referral processes.
- DXA Lifestyle- includes DXA scan and lifestyle report- from £99*
- DXA Lifestyle Plus- includes DXA scan, Instant Vertebral Assessment (IVA) and lifestyle report – from £150*
* Our current most affordable rate for the service; we also offer a limited-time 5% discount to all self-pay patients who prepay online on our portal TREVOR.
One working day turnaround for report
A Consultant Radiologist will analyse your DXA almost immediately and send a report to your referring clinician. This will happen within one working day (excluding bank holidays). You should arrange an appointment with your referring clinician to discuss the results. You’ll also be able to take away a hard copy of your images on the day.
What should I do if I don’t hear anything?
Contact your clinician who referred you or give us a call on 020 7042 1888. We may be able to contact your clinician on your behalf.
It is possible for patients to self-refer for DXA. You will need to complete a self-referral questionnaire to ensure you qualify for a DXA scan. We will also require your GP’s details in order to send them a copy of your scan report. To request a questionnaire, please contact us on 020 7042 1888 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need a referral from a clinician, you or your referring clinician can book an appointment using one of 3 simple ways:
All you need to do is complete our step by step booking form and leave the rest to us. We will contact you to confirm your booking. Alternatively, you can request a call back and one of our Reservations Team will happy to contact you. All appointments and prices are subject to confirmation once we receive your referral form.