Preparing for the DXA Scan


  • The DXA Scan is the clinical gold standard for determining accurate body composition results. Its clinical accuracy is superior to all other methods, including Body Pod, Hydrostatic Weighing, BioElectrical Impedance and Skin Calipers. DXA is able to see into the body, picturing all bodily fat accurately, including visceral fat around and inside organ tissue. Because it profiles ALL fat, (essential fat & storage fat) its accuracy may yield body fat results higher than other less accurate methods previously performed on any given subject.
  • Repeat readings should be at similar times of day
  • Be normally hydrated. A low carbohydrate diet can sometimes result in dehydration
  • Women should be tested during the same days of their monthly cycle, as their prior tests
  • Do not exercise vigorously 4-6 hours before being tested
  • Do not eat 4-6 hours before testing
  • Do not take calcium supplements day of testing
  • Void bladder and void bowels before testing
  • Wear comfortable clothing with NO METAL: Check metal zippers, snaps, fasteners, grommets, belts, and under-wire bras. No Jewelry, if possible.
  • Irremovable piercing, metal plates, pins, screws, metal prosthetic joints are OK, but need to be stated to the technician.
  • DXA Scan is perfectly safe and harmless. It emits extremely low dose radiation, which in fact, is less than several days of exposure from natural sources, such as working out in the yard on sunny days, or that of taking an airplane flight from Seattle to Denver.
  • However, if you are pregnant, or think that you may be pregnant, the scan will not be performed. Even though the scan emits very low dose radiation, the risk of low dose radiation is not known for an unborn fetus.
  • DXA should not be scheduled within a week of Nuclear Medicine Studies such as Barium Enema, Contrast MRI, CAT Scan, or other contrast studies


Your total appointment will take approximately 45 minutes, including a short review of the body composition results. You will undergo a scan for bone density and/or body composition.

The DXA is an open air scanner (Unlike an MRI). This involves lying still on the exam table while the x-ray arm passes over the body. The whole body scan (body composition) takes 6-8 Minutes.  The bone density scan will consist of 2 scans, a hip, lower back or arm, each lasting approximately 30 seconds. It will take a couple of minutes to position the body and extremities.


If you have a DXA Body Composition Scan, it will take 10 -15 minutes afterward to analyze the test results and compile reports, which will then take about 10 minutes to review with you. You may take your reports with you. Reports include bone, muscle, and fat data, as well as ideal weight, and metabolic calorie expenditure based upon your body composition data.

If you are having a bone density scan, these reports are compiled later and sent to your physician. Reports include bone density T Scores, Z Scores, fracture risk, and whether you have osteopenia or osteoporosis.

For more information on the DXA body composition Click Here

To schedule a DXA body composition analysis, contact us at 425.820.2110.