The foundation of health and fitness testing at My Vital Metrics is the DEXA Scan: the gold standard test for Body Composition Analysis, Body Fat Measurement, and Bone Density Analysis.
The DEXA Scan is the foundation of our testing services at My Vital Metrics offering the gold standard in Body Composition Analysis, Body Fat Measurement, and Bone Density
What is DEXA Scanning?
The DEXA scan is the gold standard of body composition measurements. It allows you to see exactly how much fat and how much muscle you have. It will tell you where that muscle and fat is, point to associated risks or hormonal issues, or identify muscular imbalances.
For a more detailed look at what a DEXA body scan is, and how it can assist you with your health and fitness programme, take a look at this video produced by Hologic, the manufacturer of the DEXA machines we use.
What is a Dexa Scan Used For?
With the results of a Dexa Scan, you can create highly individualised training plans through better understanding of your body composition, and what the best workout and nutrition programmes might be for your unique body. Muscular imbalances, body fat composition and bone density can all be used to target your training and boost results. Learn more about Using a Dexa Scan in our Blog.
Our scans differ from Private Medical and hospital Dexa Scans, in that we use full body scanners at our dedicated London Fitness Lab to give an overall picture of body composition for fitness. Medical scans usually provide very high resolution dexa scans focused on one area to measure bone density for medical purposes, not fitness.
Unsure whether a DEXA Scan is right for you? Get in touch and our experts will assess your unique needs
Which Type of DEXA Scan do I need?
DEXA for Body Composition
- Total body fat % and amount
- Visceral Fat
- Fat Distribution
- Muscle Mass
- Muscle Distribution
- Calculated Resting Metabolic Rate
- General indication of bone density
DEXA for Bone Density
- High Resolution Bone Density Scan
- Focus on
- T-Score for each area (used for diagnosis by specialist)
- Recommendation to raise with GP if out-of-range
How Does a DEXA Scan Work?
The scanner passes a small amount of two different X-ray beams through the body. The rays are absorbed or pass through the body in known quantities. Different amount of the first beam will be absorbed by fat and by muscle, and the second beam will be absorbed by the skeleton. By measuring the amount of each beam which makes it through to the sensor on the other side, we are able to tell how much fat and muscle and bone there is in that part of the body.
X-rays? Is a Dexa Scan Safe?
The amount of radiation you are exposed to during your private Dexa Scan is tiny. It is roughly equivalent to about a day’s worth of background radiation from just living, or about the safe as the additional radiation you get from taking a flight from London to Paris. Our DEXA Scanners are regularly checked and calibrated to ensure that this remains the case – There is absolutely nothing to fear from taking a DEXA scan. We also limit the number of scans a person can take in a year to 6, with individual scans being taken no less than 6 weeks apart.
What’s the Dexa Scan Procedure?
Body Composition DEXA Scans
Click the image below to download a sample report
During your Private Dexa Scan you will be asked to undress to underwear and remove all jewellery/watches. A hospital gown can be provided if needed. Bras with underwires will also need to be removed. The Dexa technician will position you lying face-up on the bed, ensuring that you are evenly spaced. They will also lightly secure your feet to each other so your legs can’t swing. When the scan is operating the receiver arm will pass over your body in three sweeps, and will gradually build up a picture of you. It is important that you are very still while the scan is happening to ensure the best quality image. Once the scan is over the technician will tell you it’s ok to get up, and dress once again. You’ll be on the table for approximately 4 minutes.
Bone Density DEXA Scans
Click the Image below to download a sample report
During your Private Bone Density Dexa Scan you will be asked to remove any heavy clothing such as jeans, or clothing that has embedded metal studs or zips. A hospital gown can be provided if needed. The Dexa technician will position you lying face-up on the bed. They will also lightly secure your feet to each other so your legs can’t swing. They will then position the arm so that it is squarely above the area to be scanned. When the scan is operating the receiver arm will pass over the area, and will gradually build up a picture of the bones in question. This might be hip, lumbar spine or wrist. It is important that you are very still while the scan is happening to ensure the best quality image. Once the scan is over the technician will tell you it’s ok to get up, and dress once again.
What Information Do I Get After the Scan?
Our expert technicians will walk you through how to read your Dexa Scan results, making everything really clear and easy to understand. After the scan, the technician will provide you with a multi-page report, and will walk you through some of the key points. You’ll be given detailed information about your bone density and body composition. Your trainer can advise you on how best to take advantage of this information, and help you to work into your training and nutrition plan. Read more in our fitness and nutrition blog about Understanding Dexa body composition results, or how we turn your Dexa Scan results into an action plan.
How Much Does a DEXA Scan Cost?
When you come to the My Vital Metrics body composition lab, you don’t just get the scan. You also benefit from our teams years of experience and have an expert technician walking you through the key points of your report. A one-off Dexa scan costs £149 and you can benefit from reduced prices when purchasing multiple scans. Book your DEXA body scan now.
BIA / Bioimpedance
This method, most commonly found on gym floors or even in people’s bathroom scales, passes a small current through your body. It is predicated on the idea that muscle and fat will impede that electrical current at different rates. Among the problems found is that levels of hydration and numerous other factors influence this. The machines consistently fail to produce reliable or meaningful body composition results in the field. They are not used in any research on body composition or body fat measurement.
Read more in our blog about the differences between Bioimpedance scales and Dexa Scans in our blog
Skinfolds, aren’t terrible as a body fat measurement. They have been shown to be reasonably accurate when in the hands of a trainer who has performed literally thousands of skin folds and can accurately find the right sites. But skin folds suffer from models once again. What if you’re a person who disproportionately puts fat on in one of the sites not measured? It throws the whole model out.
Skin folds can never tell you about imbalances, nor about site-specific muscle gain/loss.
What about alternatives?
DEXA Scanning is the Gold Standard in body composition analysis and body fat measurement. No other method comes close to its consistency, ease of application and specificity. DEXA is also the only body composition measurement which will give you accurate fat mass, fat-free mass and bone mass, not just overall, but in each part of the body. This means that it can double as a measure of how recovery from injury is going, or detect imbalances between the left and right sides. It is also the only measurement which can give an indication of visceral fat – this is the fat which sits around the organs. This type of fat is appearing regularly in recent research as being an indicator for a range of health conditions.
3D Body Scanning & Mapping Included
This is the most commonly used body composition measure in the medical profession. It’s a simple height and weight calculation. In anybody who has never seen the inside of a gym this might be ok. But once you’ve done any kind of heavy lifting it will cease to be relevant.
Other Frequently Asked Questions about DEXA Scanning
Got more questions about DEXA? Maybe some of the below will help you to understand more deeply the report, and the procedure. If you’ve any questions however, please do feel free to email us, or use the WhatsApp button in the bottom right hand corner of the screen to get in touch.
Are DEXA Scans safe?
DEXA Scans are considered very safe. The radiation is so low that we (the operator) do not leave the room while it is going on. The radiation is about the equivalent to a 1 hour flight.
Do DEXA Scans use Radiation?
Yes. DEXA Scans use X-Ray radiation to create the image. The radiation dose is very low, but we still will ask you whether you have had any X-Rays within the past 2 months, and if you have we cannot proceed with the test until 2 months have passed since your last X-Ray (Dental X-Rays don’t count)
How long does it take to get DEXA Scan results?
Results are instantaneous, and we will discuss them with you in depth at the same appointment.
Are DEXA Scan results ever wrong?
Like any testing modality, preparation is important to the accuracy of the results. We will ask you to be at least 4 hours fasted, and to be normally hydrated (so no training beforehand). If you are careful with these preparations DEXA is the most accurate and reliable and repeatable measure available.
Can I have a DEXA Scan with a Pacemaker?
Yes, you can still have a DEXA Scan, but we will see the pacemaker on the scan, and it might mean we are unable to use some of the results (e.g. for bone mass) or else deduct the known weight of the pacemaker.
What is BMD in a DEXA Scan?
BMD is Bone Mineral density. It is a measure of how dense your bones are. It is measured in g/cm2. The three measures of bone health are Area – this tells us how big your bones are overall; BMC which is bone mineral content – this tells us how heavy your bones are; and BMD which is calculated from the first two and is able to predict how strong your bones are overall.
What is a DEXA T-Score?
The T-Score in general is a statistical measure to tell you how far you are from the ‘normal’ person. In a DEXA, it is most commonly referring to the T-Score of your bone density. This compares your bone density to the bone of a healthy 30 year old person. If you have a T-score of 0 this means that your bones are exactly the same density as that 30 year old. If you have a T-score of -1, it means your bone density is 1 standard deviation less than this healthy adult. If your T-Score is between -1 and -2.5 this is defined as Osteopenia. If it is -2.5 or less, this is defined as Osteoporosis.
My Vital Metrics will not comment too much on your bone densities, as we are not medical professionals, and the scan we do for whole body composition, isn’t the ideal scan to identify any condition. However, if our scan shows a very low T-score, we might advise you to see your GP about it.
How much does a Dexa Scan Cost
A Dexa Scan From My Vital Metrics Costs £135 for a single scan, and you’ll benefit from reduced prices when purchasing multiple scans in a package. Book your DEXA scan here.
Why What are DEXA Scans used for?
In their diagnostic context, DEXA scans are used to measure bone density, and to diagnose conditions such as osteopenia and osteoporosis. More widely, they are also good for measuring the amount of bone, fat, and lean mass a person has.
Can a DEXA Scan detect Cancer?
Can a DEXA Scan detect arthritis
No, the resolution of scans we use – being whole body – cannot detect artritis.
Can a DEXA Scan show fractures
Can I drink milk before a DEXA Scan
You can eat and drink anything you like before a DEXA scan. Most foods will be added to the ‘lean mass’ figures. In an ideal situation you should minimise what you eat and drink before a scan to get the best results possible. Alternatively as long as we keep the consumption similar between scans, we should get consistent results. We usually ask you to be at least 4 hours fasted of food, and normally hydrated.
How often should you have a DEXA Scan
How do I read a DEXA Scan Report
We will walk you though the DEXA report, and explain all the important parts for your particular circumstances. We will then email you with a summary of our findings, as well as the report – so you don’t have to guess at what the figures all mean.
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