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Can I have a DEXA scan with a Pacemaker?

DEXA with hip replacement

If you’re coming to Bodyscan for a DEXA body scan, you may be concerned if you have an implant, such as a Pacemaker or Cochlear, prosthesis, breast implant or just jewellery/piercing that is difficult or impossible to remove.

The short answer is: you don’t have to worry about any items that you cannot remove, the scan can go ahead as normal. Metal, plastic and silicone implants will show up as dense bone on your DEXA scan report but they will not affect the fat and lean data. Importantly, there is no risk to the operation of your Pacemaker or any implant. They will not generate any heat, noise, movement or extra radiation – your Pacemaker or Cochlear will continue to operate as normal during the DEXA scan.

DEXA is a very-low-dose X-ray, and X-rays either pass through objects or they do not (known technically as ‘attenuation’). Implants such as hip or knee replacements of any material, and jewellery or piercings are all fine.

However, we do ask that you remove as much jewellery as possible, as we want to measure you, not what you’re wearing!

(In contrast to a DEXA scan, you cannot wear any metal jewellery or have metal implants or a Pacemaker if you are having an MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging). MRI uses radio waves, not X-rays, and consists of a giant magnet, which will obviously affect a Pacemaker or anything metal.)

If you want to understand more about the overall safety of a DEXA scan, please watch the video below.

If you have any more questions or concerns regarding the DEXA Scan, please see our FAQs here.