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Bone Densitometer Acronyms and Phrases Defined

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Welcome to the first installment of our Alphabet Soup series! We'll kick things off by demystifying some of the acronyms and abbreviations that make up the shorthand of bone densitometry.


PA Spine- T4-L4 region of the spine, also used to refer to studies performed on that region

BDA- Bone Density Assessment

Body Comp- Short for "body composition", a measure of a patient's fat to muscle ratio

BMD- Bone Mineral Density or Bone Mineral Densitometry

CADfx- Computer Aided Fracture, an assessment tool that measure vertebral compression and aids in vertebral evaluation

DEXA/DXA-Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry, another common shortening of Bone Mineral Densitometry

Dual VA- Dual Vertebral Assessment, "Provides a clear skeletal image by minimizing the appearance of soft-tissue artifacts around vertebral bodies, particularly in the thoracic region." (GE Healthcare, 2012)

Hip- Refers to proximal femur studies

ImagePro- Digital image processing software that sharpens the view of vertebral fractures, an application for Hologic bone densitometers

IRIS- Integrated Rapid Imaging System

IVA- Instant Vertebral Assessment, a rapid, low-dose x-ray scan taken in tandem with a standard beone density test that produces an image of the entire spine for assessment of spine fractures, a feature of Hologic bone densitometers

LVA- Lateral Vertebral Assessment, a low-dose x-ray examination of the spine for vertebral fractures, similar to IVA (above) available with GE bone densitometers 

UPS- Uninterruptible Power Supply, a temporary emergency power source for electrical equipment (i.e. a bone densitometer) during outages of standard mains power, an optional accessory

VFA- Vertebral Fracture Assessment, generic term for IVA and LVA (trademarked terms for individual manufacturers listed above)

The terms above are just some of the more common short phrases heard in the bone densitometry specialty. If you've heard one we didn't cover, please let us know so we can grow this list into an even better resource.

A special thanks to Dr. Larry Jankowski, Chief DXA Technologist at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute for his expert review and clarification of several of the items above.

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