Do I need to do anything to prepare for my scan?

We say YES! And we’ve done some serious research to prove it.

Any food or fluid ingested before your scan is picked up by the DEXA scanner and it represents part of your body mass at the time of your scan which skews the result slightly. 

That means the most accurate results are obtained when you are scanned early in the morning after an overnight fast. We know… breakfast is the most important meal of the day which is why we open very early in the morning! Yes, it is convenient not to have to skip work but it is also important for accuracy.

Get all our prep recommendations (and why!) 

If you have any questions, please let us know! Oh…. And dress in something with no metal or something that is easy to change out of and into a gown. 

How long does it take?

Your appointment will be for 15 or 30 minutes depending if it’s your first appointment or a follow-up. That gives us enough time to do the scan and spend time with you explaining your scan results. We allow more time if you’re a DEXA virgin so we can answer all your questions.

How do I get my results?

We will print out your results straight after your scan so you can take them with you. We also email you a copy within 24 hours or your scan.

Will you give me diet and exercise advice to improve?

We will give you your magic numbers and what they mean but we don’t routinely offer detailed advice about how to get the results you want. A lot of our clients are already working with health and fitness professionals who are already doing this for them. 

But if you aren’t getting any advice, we are happy to recommend the right people to help you on your journey… just ask us!

We explain this a bit more for you here

Do I need a referral from a doctor?

No - you don’t need a referral.

Anyone can contact us and ask for a scan… we have the right approvals and licenses from Queensland Health to provide this service. We are required by Queensland Health to have you complete a consent before your scan… we do that all online before your scan.  

Is the radiation from DEXA scanning safe?

DEXA scanning does involve ionising radiation but it is a very low radiation dose – you will get more radiation from a simple Chest x-ray or a four hour commercial flight or one day of natural background radiation. 

You can verify the facts on the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) 

The table below provides more information. 

Effective radiation dose values

Procedure                                               Dose  (microSv)

Body CT Scan                                          5000-15000

Head CT Scan                                          2000-4000

Lumbar Spine X-Ray                                 600-1700

Dental Bitewing                                         60

7 hour flight                                               50  

Chest X-Ray                                             40-50

DXA* - bone mineral assessment             11

Natural background radiation (daily)          6-8

DXA* - whole body composition               1-4

*Using Hologic Discovery Wi scanner, as used by Physique Science

The average dose for a DEXA scan for body composition assessment is ~1-4 µSv (microsieverts), depending on the scanner. This is less than half our daily exposure to naturally occurring background radiation, ~1/10th of a normal chest x-ray & less than that of an airport detector or a 4 hr flight on a commercial airline. In the scientific literature, this level of radiation exposure has been described as insignificant and having no observable radiological or biological effect. However, women should always inform staff if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy because radiation can be harmful to the foetus.

What if I am pregnant?

DEXA uses ionising radiation so if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant we won’t scan you. 

That is very basic radiation hygiene and even though it is a low radiation dose examination, DEXA is not clinically urgent and therefore not an appropriate examination to have if you are pregnant. 

We ask all female clients of reproductive age before the scan if they are pregnant and there is a related question on your consent form.

How often should I have a DEXA scan?

That depends on your circumstances but in the interest of radiation safety, we recommend no more than 6 scans in any given year. As part of our commitment to the responsible use of DEXA for body composition assessment, we ask all clients to sign a consent form in which we ask about your previous scans to ensure this limit is observed. 

And in reality, there is no scientific evidence that more frequent scans would help yield any improvement in your body composition. 

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