Re: Dexa scan -- can they make mistakes?
Hi Jackie! Before you get any answers, a couple of things: first of all, were all the DEXA's done on the same machine? Also, are you menopausal, and if so, how long have you been in meno? Did you take any medications for bone-building after the first DEXA 2 years ago, and if so, what did you take?
I do know that DEXA machines vary and that is why it is recommended that the same machine be used for future scans to enable a valid comparison. If you did have the same machine, is it possible that 1 vertebra was left out of the "total" calculation? That happened to me once; L1 was omitted and as a result my score "stayed the same" when in reality it got worse.
Along the lines of your original question, here's something to ponder: I have a friend who's a physiotherapist. She had a client around my age (52) who had her first DEXA which showed "osteoporosis" of the lumbar...I think it was something like -2.6, although she had no history of fractures. Her doctor wanted her on medication for this immediately. She called her brother, who is also a doctor but in another province. He agreed with the choice of medication but for some reason suggested she have the DEXA repeated before she started taking drugs. Well, she did that (I don't know how she did, since in Canada we can't pay for procedures so I don't see how the original doctor got the scan repeated so close to the original date...but anyway. Maybe she went to a different clinic; I'm not sure). And guess what? The next scan put her at -1.7! Not wonderful, but definitely not osteoporosis.
So in answer to your question, yes, I believe there can be mistakes. Anyone else out there have a story to share?