DXA / DEXA / Osteodensitometry

Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) is a reliable method for measuring bone density. This non-invasive test helps to assess the risk of osteoporosis and other bone diseases as well as to accurately determine body composition. DXA is often used to monitor bone health in individuals at risk of bone loss, providing a basis for prevention and treatment of this condition. It can also be used to accurately measure body composition, fat and muscle distribution, amount of visceral fat and symmetry of the musculoskeletal system.

Medical experts believe that DXA scans are the most useful, simple and inexpensive tests to help diagnose osteoporosis. The test is quick and painless.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a term used to describe brittle bones and the risk of bone fractures. With age, bones can lose thickness and strength. Osteoporosis literally means “porous bone”. DXA tests help your health care provider monitor bone density and risk of bone fractures over time.

Osteoporosis occurs when you lose bone faster than your body can make new bone tissue. It is most common in postmenopausal women. Over time, bones become weaker. Of course, fragile bones break more easily.

Health professionals sometimes call osteoporosis a “silent” disease because it doesn’t hurt. Many people first realize they have osteoporosis after breaking a bone in a fall.

What is osteopenia?

Osteopenia is a term used to describe “low bone tissue”. Many individuals, including those who are slim and very active, have lower bone density throughout their lives. However, this does not necessarily mean that they will develop osteoporosis. Many top athletes have low bone density, but their bones are healthy and very strong. Osteopenia is not “pre-osteoporosis,” but sometimes, if a person has other risk factors for fracture, osteoporosis therapy may be recommended to prevent future fractures.

What does a DXA scan look like?

DXA scans measure the mineral content of certain bones, such as the hip, spine and/or forearm. The procedure is as follows:

You will be asked to lie on a special DXA table. The technician will help you position yourself correctly and will use aids such as sponges to maintain the desired position. As the arc of the DXA machine passes over the body, it uses two different x-rays. The rays use very little radiation to make the test safer and help distinguish bone from other tissues. The scanner translates bone density measurement data into images and graphs. These results are then printed and you can show them to your doctor, usually the referring endocrinologist or rheumatologist.

Who should do a DXA scan?

Healthcare professionals consider many factors when deciding who might benefit from a DXA scan and how often. Healthcare professionals often recommend a DXA scan to assess bone health and fracture risk due to osteoporosis if you are over 50, have a broken bone, or other diseases that threaten your bones.

Research shows that women start losing bone mass earlier and faster than men. Therefore, health professionals usually recommend that women have a DXA scan to screen for osteoporosis at a younger age compared to men.

Your healthcare provider may recommend a DXA scan if you have one or more risk factors for osteoporosis or fractures:

Increased age: Most people lose bone mass as they age.

Family history: If one or more family members have osteoporosis or more than one fracture, you may be at greater risk of bone loss.

Previous fractures: Broken bones, especially after age 50, can be a sign that you are at higher risk. Porous (less dense) bones break more easily.

Medications: Some medications, such as the steroid prednisone, some cancer medications, and medications used after organ transplants can weaken your bones.

Your general health: Many chronic medical conditions can increase the likelihood of bone fractures. Risk conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, diabetes, liver disease and kidney disease.

What else do healthcare professionals use DXA for?

Healthcare providers may request a DXA scan to:

Tracked changes in bone health over time. Monitor your response to therapy. Assess body composition, such as the amount of fat and muscle tissue in your body (and where it is).

How often should a DXA scan be done?

Your healthcare provider will consider several factors, such as your age, level of fracture risk, previous DXA results, and current medications. Then, your healthcare provider will create a personalized plan to assess and protect your bone health.

How to prepare for a DXA scan?

Most people do not need to change their daily routine before a DXA scan. Eat, drink and take your medicine as usual, unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise.

Before the test, please do the following:

Stop taking calcium supplements 24 hours before the test: This includes multivitamins as well as antacids that are often used to treat heartburn. Wear comfortable clothes. Try to choose clothes that do not have metal (threads, buttons, buckles…). Tell your doctor if you might be pregnant: DXA scans use low levels of radiation. Doctors recommend avoiding all radiation exposure during pregnancy.

How long does a DXA scan take?

DXA imaging for osteoporosis (hip + spine) takes about 10 minutes, while imaging for body composition (body composition) takes about 15 minutes, together if they are done about 25 minutes.

Is a DXA scan painful?

Not. You won’t feel anything while lying on the table

How accurate is a DXA scan?

DXA examinations provide a high degree of precision and accuracy. Medical experts consider DXA examinations to be the gold standard for the diagnosis of osteoporosis.

Unlike x-ray machines, DXA machines are sensitive and calibrated daily to determine their ability to accurately measure bone mineral, and no two DXA machines are exactly the same. This is why your doctor will insist that you do all DXA tests on the same machine.



Cardiology is a branch of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. Cardiologists study the function of the heart and blood vessels and treat a variety of conditions, including atherosclerosis, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, and heart attacks. Examinations by a cardiologist, including ECG, heart ultrasound and coronary angiography, help to make an accurate diagnosis and plan optimal therapy.

In Europe, about 49 million people suffer from cardiovascular diseases, and these diseases are the main cause of death for half of the population both in Europe and in our country. In Serbia, where about 2 million people suffer from these diseases, over 52,000 people lose their lives every year.

The main risk factors for heart disease are age, blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and lack of physical activity. And the main symptoms of heart diseases are dizziness, sweating, difficulty in breathing, pain in the chest, shoulders or arms; arrhythmias, pale skin, nausea.

Ars Medica Beograd has an expert team of cardiologists who apply the most modern methods of diagnosing and treating cardiovascular diseases. In one place, we offer all necessary laboratory and diagnostic analyses.



Neurology is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nervous system. Neurologists deal with conditions such as migraine, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and stroke. Through a neurological examination, radiological methods such as MRI and MSCT scans and other diagnostic procedures, neurologists diagnose neurological disorders

After heart attack, stroke is the leading cause of death worldwide. In Serbia, one case of stroke is recorded every 15 minutes. That is, about 23,000 people a year in Serbia experience an acute stroke, of that number, about 7,500 lose their lives, the same number remain disabled, while approximately 8,000 successfully recover. Preventive measures can significantly reduce the negative consequences, especially if a person seeks professional help and receives thrombolytic therapy within the first hour of the onset of symptoms.

The most common symptoms of neurological diseases are: mental problems, muscle weakness, muscle tremors, loss of feeling in the extremities, unexplained pain, confusion, vision problems, headaches

The most common neurological diseases are: headaches and migraines, head and spine injuries, brain tumors, stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease.

MSCT – CT Scan

Multislice computed tomography (MSCT) is an advanced CT scanning technology that enables faster and more accurate images of internal organs. With the ability to simultaneously display multiple layers of tissue, MSCT provides important information about anatomy and pathology. This technique is often used in the diagnosis of cardiovascular problems, lung diseases, traumatic injuries and many other conditions.

CT (computed tomography) is a type of radiological imaging. Similar to an X-ray, it shows the structures inside your body. However, instead of creating a flat, two-dimensional image, a CT scan takes dozens or even hundreds of images. To get these images, the CT machine takes X-rays as it rotates around the patient.

Doctors use CT scans to see things that plain X-rays can’t show. For example, body structures overlap on plain X-rays and many things are not visible. A CT scan shows the details of each of your organs for a clearer and more accurate view.

MSCT is used to examine the lungs and chest, enlargement of blood vessels (aneurysms), abdomen, urinary tract, internal bleeding, skeletal system, intestines, spine, brain.

Low-dose MSCT or LDCT (low-dose CT) has a key role in lung cancer screening. Lung cancer screening is the detection of lung cancer at a very early stage, when the probability of cure is incomparably higher. Unfortunately, due to the lack of nerve endings and pain receptors in the lungs, lung cancer is usually detected in the late stages of the disease when the chances of cure are quite low. By the time lung cancer signs and symptoms appear, it’s usually too late. Studies show that screening for lung cancer drastically reduces the risk of dying from this form of cancer.

Who should consider screening?

Lung cancer screening is usually recommended for people at highest risk for lung cancer, including:

  • Older adults who currently smoke or have smoked in the past. Lung cancer screening is usually offered to smokers and ex-smokers who are 50 years of age or older. Persons who have smoked in large quantities for many years. Lung cancer screening may be considered if you have a smoking history of 20 years or more. Pack-years are calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes you smoke per day by the number of years you have smoked. For example, a person with a 20 pack-year smoking history might have smoked a pack a day for 20 years, two packs a day for 10 years, or half a pack a day for 40 years.
  • People who used to smoke heavily, but have stopped. If you have been a heavy smoker for a long period of time and have stopped within the last 15 years, you may want to consider screening for lung cancer.
  • People with a history of lung cancer. If you were treated for lung cancer more than five years ago, you may consider lung cancer screening.
  • People with other risk factors for lung cancer.
  • People who have other risk factors for lung cancer may include those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, those with a family history of lung cancer, and those who have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace.

If you are doing a CT scan of the abdomen and/or small pelvis, you should not eat 4 hours before the examination, and you should drink a couple of glasses of water half an hour before the examination. If the examination requires the use of a contrast dye, it is necessary to perform blood tests – urea and creatinine.