The DEXA scan procedure may look simple to you, but it is actually very complex. A correctly positioned and analyzed scan is crucial, because it provides the most accurate, most reliable results—results that can greatly impact your care and treatment for osteoporosis. You can make sure you get a quality scan by asking these questions:

Does the technologist have ISCD training?

If you clicked on the link titled “The Scan Step by Step,” you know that the technologist must position you correctly on the examination platform, then carefully position lines or boxes on the computer to take a measurement. It sounds easy, but performing the procedure accurately takes great skill. Your technologist should be properly trained and supervised. You’ll know the technologist is well trained if he or she has had ISCD training. ISCD stands for “International Society for Clinical Densitometry,” an organization of professionals that expertly trains and certifies both technologists and physicians. The physician who reads and interprets your scan should also be ISCD-trained.

Does the technologist do precision testing?

Quality technologists regularly test their skills with precision testing. During this test, the technologist makes two completely separate measurements of a volunteer’s bone density. The separate scans test the ability of the technologist to correctly position the patient and the computer boxes. The two tests should show the same results for the volunteer’s bone density.

You should also ask your doctor if the DEXA machine is properly maintained—and if it is possible to have all your DEXA scans done on the same machine and by the same technologist. Since most people get DEXA scans every one to two years, using the same machine and the same technologist will give you the best picture of your progress.