Document Type

Journal Article


Journal of Sport Science and Medicine


Exercise Medicine Research Institute




Originally published as: Hart, N.H., Nimphius, S., Spiteri, T., Cochrane, J.L., Newton, R.U. (2015). Segmental musculoskeletal examinations using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA): Positioning and analysis considerations in Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 14(3), 620-626. Available here.


Musculoskeletal examinations provide informative and valuable quantitative insight into muscle and bone health. DXA is one mainstream tool used to accurately and reliably determine body composition components and bone mass characteristics in-vivo. Presently, whole body scan models separate the body into axial and appendicular regions, however there is a need for localised appendicular segmentation models to further examine regions of interest within the upper and lower extremities. Similarly, in-consistencies pertaining to patient positioning exist in the litera-ture which influence measurement precision and analysis out-comes highlighting a need for standardised procedure. This paper provides standardised and reproducible: 1) positioning and analysis procedures using DXA and 2) reliable segmental exam-inations through descriptive appendicular boundaries. Whole-body scans were performed on forty-six (n = 46) football ath-letes (age: 22.9 ± 4.3 yrs; height: 1.85 ± 0.07 cm; weight: 87.4 ± 10.3 kg; body fat: 11.4 ± 4.5 %) using DXA. All segments across all scans were analysed three times by the main investiga-tor on three separate days, and by three independent investiga-tors a week following the original analysis. To examine intra-rater and inter-rater, between day and researcher reliability, coefficients of variation (CV) and intraclass correlation coeffi-cients (ICC) were determined. Positioning and segmental analy-sis procedures presented in this study produced very high, nearly perfect intra-tester (CV ≤ 2.0%; ICC ≥ 0.988) and inter-tester (CV ≤ 2.4%; ICC ≥ 0.980) reliability, demonstrating excellent reproducibility within and between practitioners. Standardised examinations of axial and appendicular segments are necessary. Future studies aiming to quantify and report segmental analyses of the upper- and lower-body musculoskeletal properties using whole-body DXA scans are encouraged to use the patient posi-tioning and image analysis procedures outlined in this paper.

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