Saint Anne'sServices and Clinical CentersWomen's Health

Bone Densitometry

Bone densitometry, also called bone density testing, utilizes small amounts of X-ray to produce images of the spine, hip or even the whole body. This procedure is sometimes referred to as a "DEXA" Bone density testing at Saint Anne's Hospitalscan.  Like other organs in the body, bones are constantly changing, and the bone densitometry test is useful in following bone changes such as osteoporosis. This test can monitor the effects of age, diet or treatments on your bone status.

Available at the Robert F. Stoico/FIRSTFED Center for Breast Care at Saint Anne’s Hospital, DEXA scanning is considered to be the “gold standard” of bone density testing.  A DEXA scan is a simple, painless, non-invasive procedure to measure bone loss.  The procedure, which takes only about 20 minutes to complete, requires that a patient be able to lie still on their back while a movable arm passes over the area of the hips and spine.

Preparation for a bone density exam is minimal.  The patient may not take any calcium, vitamins or bone enhancement medications, such as Fosamax, for at least 24 hours prior to the scan.  While osteoporosis cannot be prevented, it can be significantly slowed by eating a well-balanced diet with recommended levels of calcium and regular weight-bearing exercise.  In some cases, hormone replacement therapy may be prescribed by a physician.

Risk factors for osteoporosis include:

  • Caucasian or Asian
  • Female, post-menopausal
  • Physically inactive
  • Smoking
  • More than two alcoholic beverages per day
  • Consume more than two-three caffeinated beverages per day
  • A diet deficient in calcium
  • Pre-menopausal hysterectomy
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Have mother or father who lost height or broke bones easily with aging
  • Personal history of anorexia, rheumatoid arthritis, or endocrine disease
  • Personal history of steroid use

DEXA scan exams are offered at the Robert F. Stoico/FIRSTFED Center for Breast Care at Saint Anne’s Hospital, Monday and Wednesday, 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and Tuesday, 8:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m.  A bone density exam requires a physician order.  To schedule a bone density exam or get more information, call 508-235-5353.

For physician offices:

  • To schedule bone density testing, please call the Robert F. Stoico/FIRSTFED Center for Breast Care, 508-235-5353.
  • To send outpatient request forms, please fax to 508-235-5360.

The Robert F. Stoico/FIRSTFED Center for Breast Care
Saint Anne's Hospital
795 Middle Street
Fall River, MA 02721

The Robert F. Stoico/FIRSTFED Center for Breast Care is conveniently located adjacent to the main hospital lobby.

Bone density testing at the Stoico/FIRSTFED Center is available Monday and Wednesday, 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and Tuesday, 8:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m.  Appointments are required.

Free valet parking is available for all patients and visitors at our main entrance on South Main Street, Monday - Friday.

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