DEXA scans & Radiation

Concerns about radiation are some of the most frequent questions we get from prospective clients looking to do a DEXA scan.

Radiation is all around us, and our bodies safely absorb small amounts of natural radiation (8 microsieverts per day) on a daily basis.

Scientists use the unit “sievert” to measure the health risks of radiation. One sievert of radiation causes immediate sickness.

One sievert is a very large dose of radiation, and most radiation doses are much, much smaller.

1 sievert (Sv) = 1000 millisieverts (mSv) = 1,000,000 microsieverts (uSv)

Getting a DEXA scan is very safe, even if you scan 3-4 times a year.

A comparative chart of radiation exposure levels from everyday (and not so everyday) sources.

1- 4 uSv MeasureUp body composition DEXA scan (depending on size of person)
8 uSv Background radiation received by an average person over a normal day. This comes from cosmic rays, the Earth’s crust and soils, buildings, food, and medical scans
10uSv A flight from Sydney to Brisbane
40 uSv A flight from Sydney to LA
60 uSv A chest x-ray
400 uSv Mammogram
1.5-1.7 mSv
(1,500 – 1,700 uSv)
Average annual dose for flight attendants
2 mSv
(2,000 uSv)
A head CT scan
5-6 mSv
(5,000 – 6,000 uSv)
A chest CT scan
1 Sv
(1,000,000 uSv)
Measured in water leaking from Fukushima No. 2 reactor over one hour. Direct exposure at this level causes symptoms such as nausea and decreased white blood cell count, but not immediate death. However, exposure at this level is correlated with increased risk of future death from cancer

If you have any other questions or queries please visit our FAQ page here or contact us on 1800 10 11 63 or

Call 02 8188 9730