We recommend that patients receive a DEXA scan at least every two years. In certain situations, such as patients taking Fosomax, it may be appropriate to have a study yearly.
The left hip and lumbar spine were chosen by the investigators who first utilized DEXA scanning. The bone in the lumbar spine and left hip have different amounts of cortical bone (bone on the surface) and cancellous bone (bone on the inside) which is why they were chosen. All patients are scanned in these two regions, unless some problem precludes looking at these areas, so that there is uniformity in reporting.
Calcium supplements may not be totally absorbed if taken close to the time of the DEXA scan. The calcium may then overlie the lower spine and falsely increase the density in this region.
No. You will be lying comfortably on your back. A small sensor will pass over your lower spine and left hip.