PHSI installs permanent DEXA scanner
The radiology department of Philip Health Services Inc. has had a Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) scanner installed.
This is a specialized device for detecting bone density, and the onset of osteopenia and osteoporosis. PHSI used to offer this service through a mobile unit, but the mobile unit service out of Rapid City was discontinued and disbanded in early 2011. PHSI has now purchased the same equipment that was used before, and that machinery has been installed for regular use in Philip.
All four of the PHSI radiology technologists – Department Manager Kayla Eymer, Lacey Clements, Lori Seager and Mindy Green – will operate the machine on their scheduled days. They were trained by a General Electric applications trainer from Minneapolis, during an eight-hour course taken over two days.
After the patient fills out a form telling of their personal and family history concerning bone diseases and breaks, the DEXA scan itself takes only about 15 minutes. This particular test, though important for its informative results, is not ever urgent. Most women 50 years of age or older should have this test, upon a doctor’s orders. The patient lies on the pad and the technologists scan the patient’s lower back and then their hips. If the patient has had a bone operation or a replacement in those areas, the scan is then of their forearm.
There is no film, such as seen from x-rays. The information from the DEXA scanner is recorded in chart form with the graphs in three colors. This information is wired directly to a computer terminal. Dr. Coen Klopper is the PHSI practitioner who interprets the readings.
Women do not retain their bone density as well as do men. One recommendation to fight the weakening of the bones is to supplement one’s diet with vitamin D, especially at a younger age. A person with signs of osteoporosis has a far greater chance of experiencing bone fractures, especially of the hips, and of vertebra compression.
DEXA scans are used to measure bone mineral density because they are more accurate than regular x-rays. A person would need to lose 20-30 percent of their bone density before it would show up on an x-ray. DEXA scans require less radiation exposure than CAT scans or radiographic absorptiometry. People are exposed to more radiation on a coast to coast airline flight than during a DEXA scan. The radiation exposure from a DEXA scan is approximately one-tenth of the radiation from a chest x-ray, which that is approximately about three days exposure to the sun.