Medical Specialties

DEXA Scans


DEXA Scans at Phoenix Children's HospitalAt Phoenix Children's, we embace a concept of "Image Gently" which is our commitment to “kid-size” all of our techniques on a daily basis in order to dramatically reduce radiation doses during our exams.

What is a Pediatric DEXA Scan?

DEXA is an abbreviation for "Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry". This is a special X-ray procedure that determines the strength of bones. Bone strength is assessed by measuring the bone density so a DEXA scanner is sometimes called a "bone densitometer."

DEXA is most often performed on the lower spine and hips. In children, sometimes the whole body is scanned. Peripheral devices that use X-ray screen for a bone deficiency or bone loss in your child.

Getting a DEXA scan is a painless, non-invasive procedure:

  • There are no injections or medications involved.
  • The procedure takes place in a private, child-friendly room.
  • DXA is an open machine - patients are not enclosed at any time.

What Happens During a DEXA Scan?

In the Central DXA examination, which measures bone density in the hip and spine, your child would lie on a padded table. An X-ray generator is located below the patient and an imaging device is positioned above.

To assess the spine, the child's legs are supported on a padded box to flatten the pelvis and lower (lumbar) spine. To assess the hip, the patient's foot is placed in a brace that rotates the hip inward. In both cases, the detector is slowly passed over the area, generating images on a computer monitor

Your child must hold very still for a few minutes while the X-ray picture is taken to reduce the possibility of a blurred image.

These tests take approximately 10 - 30 minutes.

What to Expect - Before you Arrive

When you arrive to the Imaging Department, sign your child name in at the registration desk located on the first floor of the Main Building, across from the Gift Shop. When your child's name is called, our staff will complete the proper paperwork with you.

Review our helpful tips on what to expect before you arrive. Please review and complete this form before your appointment:

Note: Be sure to bring any related documentation such as physician notes and prior images to your child’s appointment.

Contact us

For more information or to make a referral, please call 602-933-1213.

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