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Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) DEXA Bone Density Scanner

DXA uses low dose ionising radiation to produce images of the body, mainly Lumbar spine, Hip and Pelvis to measure bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral composition (BMC), important indicators of osteoporosis and fracture risk.

The high definition Instant Vertebral Assessment (IVA-HD) dramatically improves the detection of vertebral fractures. Supine lateral BMD provides a more sensitive means of detecting response to therapy than antero-posterior (AP) spine BMD alone.

The rotating C-arm is designed to eliminate patient repositioning. The fan bean allows clear visualisation and measurement of trabecular rich vertebral bodies, which are the first bone tissue to show degeneration as well as positive response to therapy. Forearm scans can be done in 30 seconds, and the radius and ulna can be scanned and analysed together or separately. The whole body can be scanned to evaluated BMD of the entire skeleton in as little as 3.5 minutes.

Body composition software enables evaluation of fat mass, lean mass and total mass for the entire body or for individual sub-regions. Both whole body BMD and body composition measurements can be derived from a single whole-body scan.

The Delphi is particularly well suited to paediatric studies having the ability to detect very low-density bone. Small animal scans may also be achieved. Bone reabsorption around a prosthetic hip can be measured to assess bone status and viability of the prosthesis. The scanner can also be used to assess cardiovascular risk, enabling visualisation of abdominal aortic calcification (AAC), which is a significant indicator of heart disease and stroke.

Make/model Hologic – Vertec Discovery (Delphi-A) QDR Series.
Details DXA uses low dose ionising radiation to produce images of the body to measure bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral composition (BMC), and overall body composition.
Facility Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Facility (MSKBRF)
School School of Engineering

  • Superior BMD measurement – fast, high resolution, linear scanning provides accurate BMD results with superior precision.
  • High Resolution Imaging with “True” linear fan-beam acquisition – true fan beam enables rapid, high resolution single-energy imaging, as well as superb dual energy bone density measurements by eliminating the beam overlap errors and image distortion.
  • High definition Digital DXA detectors – using the same imaging detector technology and geometry as state-of-the-art computed tomography (CT) systems.
  • Speed and image quality - Captures hip and spine with as fast as 10 second regional scanning time. Better than 1.8Lp/mm imaging resolution.
  • Instant vertebral assessment – rapid 10 second, single-energy imaging of the entire spine.
  • Consistency of scanning – the system performs continuous, automatic collaboration, ensuring precise results from exam to exam.
  • Image ProTM* - Advanced digital imaging processing sharpens your view of vertebral fractures.
  • E-Reporting – Advanced remote interpretation and reporting software.
  • Low radiation dose - the effective dose for a whole body scan is 2-10 µSv which is less than half of the dose from a standard chest x-ray 14 µSv, which is equivalent to one days’ worth of natural background radiation (Oatway et al. 2016).

Contact the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Facility (MSKBRF) on or telephone +44 (0) 29 2087 6436.

£418.79 per hour including operator.

Anyone using the scanner independently will need to familiarise themselves with the local rules of the department, and Radiation Protection legislation; Ionising Radiation Regulations (IRR) 2017 and Ionising Radiation Medical Exposure Regulations (IR(ME)R) 2018. 

No-one should operate Radiological Equipment without appropriate training. Once satisfactory training has been achieved, the individual may act as and ‘Operator’ under the IR(ME)R 2018 guidelines.

IR(ME)R 2018 and IRR 2017 regulations should always be adhered to when using the equipment. No participant should be irradiated without the exposure first being referred and justified in accordance with IR(ME)R 2017 regulations. Details of this should be clearly set out in the study ethics approval.

Before using the scanner the local radiation rules for the department must be read. This will state all the necessary procedures that need to be carried out before, during and after using the scanner. The IR(ME)R 2018 regulations and IRR 2017 regulations should always be adhered to.

Exposing participants to radiation for the purposes of research should not be carried out without robust IRAS (REC) ethics in place, and ethics should also be gained from the School of Engineering. All participants should be fully informed of what the procedure will involve including any risks or benefits. They should be given the chance to read a pre-prepared and approved patient information sheet and given the opportunity to ask questions prior to giving their informed consent to participate.

Get in touch

Dr David Williams

+44 (0)29 2087 6436


Trevithick Building
The Parade
Newport Road
CF24 3AA