Bone Densitometry and Body Composition


Our DEXA provides for both adult and paediatric Bone Density Analysis as well as Body Composition Analysis.

A Bone Density scan is a simple test on our DEXA machine that measures the calcium content within your bones. It requires no preparation, and involves scanning the lower spine and hip, and occasionally the forearm. You will lie on a bed and the scanner will move over the areas to be scanned. This is a painless procedure and uses a very small amount of radiation.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become fragile and break easily. There is often no sign of the disease until you break a bone. Breaks due to osteoporosis occur commonly in the spine and hip.

Who should have a bone density scan?

Current recommendations are that all women should consider having a bone density scan at age 65. Women should consider an earlier scan if they have additional risk factors.

The five main risks are:

A family history of osteoporosis
A previous fracture over the age of 20 years
Early menopause (under 45)
Low body weight

Preparation: You may wear any kind of clothing you like, but please avoid metal buttons or buckles. The examination takes approximately 30 minutes, but please allow plenty of time.

Following your scan: Your bone density is calculated automatically by the machine and compared to the average person of your age, sex, weight and ethnicity. Your scan results are interpreted by a radiologist and we also have available a specialist in osteoporosis, who can advise on treatment when necessary. This information will enable your doctor to advise you on your risk of a fracture and any treatment you may need, or lifestyle changes you could make to ensure an active future.

Accurate measurement of body composition provides valuable information for assessing, monitoring and treating a variety of diseases and disorders and for monitoring performance. Body composition measurement contributes to a thorough patient evaluation and helps physicians monitor the effects of therapy, diet or exercise.

Most people are used to stepping on a scale before every visit to a doctor’s examining room. But monitoring patients’ weight – while helpful – is at best a crude and imprecise way to assess their health.

Body composition scans with DEXA provide precise and accurate data on bone and tissue composition, including bone mineral density (BMD), lean tissue mass, and fat tissue mass. They provide both total body data and regional results (trunk, arms, legs, pelvis and android/gynoid regions). The measurements are fast and non invasive.

Who should use body composition measurement with DEXA?

Body composition measurement with DEXA can look beyond weight and the traditional body mass index (BMI) to determine body fat distribution – an important risk factor in a variety of serious diseases. It can even help athletes make decisions on the training regimens they use to achieve the best performance.

Information from DEXA exams can prove valuable in conditions, such as:

  • Obesity
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Cystic fibrosis

What are the advantages of using DEXA with anorexia treatment?

Assessment of body composition is important in evaluating and managing severe eating disorders such as anorexia. It is well known that women with anorexia nervosa more easily develop osteoporosis.

Patients with anorexia lose a substantial amount of lean tissue, which can be 15% to 45% of the total body mass lost. Much of this loss in lean tissue is muscle. Physicians treating anorexia use body composition with DEXA to:

a) evaluate disease severity by setting target values of lean and fat

b) monitor changes in both lean and fat compartments

c) measure the effectiveness of nutritional interventions

As one study found, “A key advantage of DEXA is that changes in bone mineral density, fat and lean mass can be monitored, a distinct advantage over weight scale measures alone.”

Young women with eating disorders increase their risk for osteopenia, and osteoporotic fractures later in life.

Studies show whole body lean-tissue mass changes correlate strongly with change in body weight after haemodialysis. Patients with renal dysfunctions are also at significantly higher risk of primary and secondary osteoporosis.

How can I get body composition measurements with DEXA?

Body composition does not require a referral from a clinician provided patients are aged 18 or over.

A copy of the generated report is provided at the end of the examination and provided in a digital format.

Contact Us

0800 467 4260

Call us to book an appointment or use the button to the right to request an appointment online.


Mount Maunganui
  • 07 578 0273
  • 8 Grenada Street, Mount Maunganui
  • Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 5:00pm Saturday: 9:00am - 1:00pm