DEXA, explained

DEXA stands for dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.

Long story short, it’s a highly specialised scan in which two levels of x-ray are used to differentiate your bones from the rest of your body. This allows it to do separate calculations of your bone mass, fat mass and fat-free mass (the other stuff).

In clinical settings DEXA is used to measure bone mineral density – that is, how strong a person’s bones are. This is important for everyone, since getting old weakens bones, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.

During a DEXA, all you need to do is lay down on a scanning bed for a maximum of three minutes.

And to blow your mind, here are the physics behind it: DEXA uses two different energies of x-ray: one looks at bone and the other at soft tissue. scan your body from head to feet while you lie beneath a bank of electronic detectors.

As your body is scanned, your bones attenuate the signal (reduce it) of the higher-energy x-ray, while soft tissue (everything else) allows its signal to pass through.

Specialised software then generates a Michelin Man image of you reduced down to your bones, fat and other stuff.

Our dietitian uses this information to identify bony landmarks and divides your body into arms, legs and trunk.

DEXA doesn’t see clothing, so you can come in wearing your workout gear or office threads. Just remember to remove all metal as you don’t want to increase your bone mass.

And since you’re wondering, the amount of radiation in a typical DEXA scan is 1-4 microSieverts, which is less that what you’d be exposed to on a flight from Sydney to Brisbane (10 microSieverts), or when having a chest x-ray (60 microSieverts).

Here’s a sketch of one type of DEXA model.

Other models may move differently, but the scan process is basically the same. Usually, both the bed and scan arm move during the test, while you just lie down and chill out.

The end result is an accurate calculation of your total amount of fat, bone and fat-free mass – broken down into each individual limb and in your trunk.

All that scary physics will be summarised into plain English and given to you in an easy-to-read report, which will be available on the MeasureUp Scan App.

How much more convincing do you need?

DEXA is the gold-standard in measuring body composition, empowering you to take control of your goals and become the expert in you. So, what are you waiting for? Book your DEXA scan at MeasureUp today.

Call 02 8188 9730