An axial or central DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorbtiometry) scan is a fast, accurate way of assessing bone density. DEXA uses low energy X-rays to help determine if you have osteoporosis or are at risk of developing osteoporosis.

A diagnosis of osteoporosis is essential to prevent life threatening fractures in high risk individuals. DEXA scans can also detect bone-related conditions, such as osteopenia.

Based at East Surrey Hospital, the DEXA service is and is provided by a senior radiographer supported by a team of skilled radiographers with specialist training.  A report of the DEXA scan is made within seven working days by either a consultant radiologist or consultant rheumatologist.

DEXA scanning is provided by appointment only.

Please note the DEXA service currently has a waiting time of around two weeks.

To book a DEXA scan, or for more information, please contact: Alain Carmen at

How long is the scan?

The scan takes 15-30 minutes.

What is the scan like?

During the scan you will lie on your back on a flat and open X-ray table. A scanning arm will pass over your body to complete the scan.

Why do I need a DEXA scan?

Having certain osteoporosis risk factors means you may need a DEXA scan. Risks factors include:

  • Breaking bones easily
  • Long term glucocorticoids (steroids)
  • A parent with a a hip fracture
  • Early menopause (before 45) without HRT
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

If you think you might be at risk of osteoporosis, please speak to your GP.

Can I have a DEXA scan if I'm pregnant?

Although the radiation dose received during a DEXA scan is extremely low, this type of scan is not recommended for pregnant patients.