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The DEXA scanning suite is situated on the ground floor of the Borders General Hospital. From the main entrance, walk straight ahead taking the second turn on the left, pass the X-ray Department on your right, continue through the double doors. The DEXA scanning suite is on your left in the Nuclear Medicine and Endoscopy Department. It is open from 8.30am until 5.00pm. We work to an appointed system; patients are referred from their GPs or outpatient clinics for these types of scans.

Radiology DEXA Scanner Small

A DEXA scan uses a scanning machine to calculate your bone density. This is done by using a combination of x-ray beams at different energies. This, along with questions about your health, can assess your bone structure and provide an assessment of your fracture risk. You may be referred for this scan if your doctor thinks that you may be at high risk of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a condition that can only be confidently diagnosed with a DEXA scan. It causes the bones to become porous and brittle, often resulting in fractures after relatively minor injuries. Some of the signs that could indicate that you might have osteoporosis are:

  • fracture after a minor injury
  • increasing curvature of the back
  • loss of height
  • a band of pain running around the body from the spine

If you think you may have any of these your doctor can refer you for a DEXA scan. For more information on osteoporosis click here.

When you are sent your appointment you will also be sent a questionnaire and a calcium counter. The calcium counter is designed to calculate how much calcium you consume. The information from the questionnaire is essential for the Consultant Radiologist in interpreting your scan and assessing your bone health in order to be able to recommend the best treatment for you, so please make every effort to answer these questions to the best of your knowledge. Questions about your current and previous treatments for osteoporosis are particularly important. If you are having difficulties with these forms please let us know and we may be able to help.

When you arrive for your appointment someone will briefly go over your questionnaire with you. They will also weigh you and take a measurement of your height. Sometimes a blood sample may be taken for routine testing. If possible please try to avoid wearing clothes with metal in them. Women may be asked to remove their bra for the scan and jewellery will need to be removed.

The scan itself

You will be asked to lie on a special table while the scanner takes readings and images of your hips and spine. You will not be enclosed in any tunnel or tight space. This only takes a few minutes. The machine may make a little noise. The radiographer will be in the room with you throughout the examination.


A specialist radiologist will interpret the scan and send the results to the doctor that referred you for this. The results are usually with your doctor in 7-10 days. Unfortunately the results are not available at the time of the scan.

We aim to make your experience with us as stress free as possible. For any further information or questions regarding these services please contact the department on: 01896 826417 or alternatively complete our online contact form