You are here: Home / Services and Specialities / Medical Imaging / Bone Density Scan

Bone Density Scan

A bone densitometry, or DXA (Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry) machine uses small amounts of ionizing radiation to take pictures of your bones. Bone densitometry measures the amount of mineral in your hip and spine, and is used to diagnose osteoporosis.

A DXA machine is made up of a large, flat table with an x-ray generator underneath. An arm-like imaging device is suspended over the table, and slowly passes over the area being examined to take pictures, which appear on a computer monitor.

The exam is painless. However, you will be asked to lie very still in order to get good results.  

Your appointment

  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment. If you are late, your appointment may be rescheduled.
  • Bring a bag for your personal belongings during the exam.
  • Bring a list of any medications you are taking, including prescription, over-the-counter medications, vitamin or mineral supplements and herbal remedies.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and avoid clothes with buttons, zippers or belts and any other additional materials.
  • We do our best to stay on time. Unfortunately, your appointment may be delayed by unforeseen circumstances. We recommend that you come prepared for delays.
  • You will be asked to fill out a short medical history form before the scan, including any medications you take, diseases or conditions you may have and any family history of osteoporosis.
  • Please let the receptionist or technologist know if you have had a barium x-ray in the last two weeks or if you had a nuclear medicine scan or injection of an x-ray dye within the last week.
  • If you wish to have a doctor other than your referring doctor copied on the results report, please let the receptionist know before your test.
  • Note that female patients aged 10 to 55 will be asked if there is any chance of pregnancy.
  • You will be given a hospital gown to put on. We will measure your height and weight.
  • Since the scan uses an X-ray, all metal in the area must be removed, including jewelry. The bone density machine will be positioned over your torso. We will ask you to change positions as we take pictures of your lower back and hips.
  • The entire scan takes about 15 minutes.  

A report will be sent to your doctor(s) within two weeks.

Find Us

map icon

Department of Medical Imaging
600 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X5
6th Floor (6-201) – University Ave. Elevators

Contact Us

Phone: 416-586-4800 ext.4446
Fax: 416-586-8790

Contact hours

Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Closed for lunch 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Outpatient hours of service

Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

*This area is wheelchair accessible*