What is a Digital Vertebral Assessment (DVA)?

Digital Vertebral Assessment is the latest diagnostic tool in clinical management and identification of vertebral fractures. DVA (semi-quantitative morphometry) objectively measures vertebral height using the latest DEXA software. DVA is covered by ACC and requires a referral from a health professional.

How does DVA work?

During a simple 3-minute scan of the Thoracic and Lumbar spine, DVA software objectively measures 6 points on the vertebral body to establish the shape and size of the vertebrae.

A variety of mathematical and statistical approaches are used to determine vertebral height and ratio of anterior, posterior and mid-vertebral heights to indicate a vertebral deformity which is then graded on the Genant scale.

What is the clinical criteria for referral?

  • Initial plain radiography with No Fracture Detected report but ongoing vertebral pain for patient.

  • Fracture detected on plain radiography and further subsequent fractures suspected.

  • Patient who is awaiting further imaging and DVA could add valuable information whilst waiting for MRI or CT scan.

  • A useful tool as a baseline to track the progress or decline of multiple vertebral fractures.

Patients must present with:

  • Referral signed by GP, Chiropractor, Physiotherapist or consultant with relevant clinical information.

  • ACC claim number that has been accepted.


  • Severe Scoliosis or extensive spinal deformaties. Patients that are unable to lie on their side for 3 minutes for the scan.

Digital Vertebral Assessment (DVA) Technology

Accuracy of DVA vs Radiography


In recent studies, DVA has moderate sensitivity and high specificity for detecting vertebral fractures when compared with spinal radiography.

(Patients with unevaluable vertebrae on VFA or moderate to severe scoliosis excluded)


How much does a DVA scan cost?

A Digital Vertebral Assessment (DVA) scan cost is covered by ACC (no surcharge*).

Is a DVA scan covered by ACC?

Yes. A Digital Vertebral Assessment scan is covered by ACC*. You must be referred and present with an accepted ACC claim number.

Do I need a doctors referral for a DVA scan?

Yes. You need a signed referral from a GP, Chiropractor, Physiotherapist or consultant.

I'm a health professional - how can I find out more about DVA?

We are more than happy to discuss DVA technology with any health professionals. Contact us to see how we can help educate yourself or your team.

Do I get my results straight away?

DVA results will be sent to your referring GP within 5-10 working days from your scan.

What should I wear for a DEXA scan?

It is best to wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing free from metal, buckles and zips (avoid jeans if possible); although suitable clothing/cover-ups can be provided on the day if necessary. You will need to remove any metal before having a scan done (excluding surgical metal screws etc that cannot be removed, in which case you can still get a scan).

Can I have a DEXA scan if I am pregnant?


Are your DVA scans performed by qualified staff?

Yes. Our team are all qualified radiologists with decades of medical imaging experience between us.

*Correct as at September 2022 and subject to change without notice.
1. Binkley N et al. (2005) Osteoporos Int 16: 1513; Fuerst Tet. al. (2009) Osteoporos Int 20: 1199
2. Damiano Jet al. (2006) 9(1): 66; Hospers IC et al. Radiology 251(3): 822
3. Rea JA et al. (2000) Osteoporos Int 11: 660
4. Schousboe JT et al. (2006) Osteoporos Int 17: 281
5. Chapurlat RD et al (2006) Osteoporosis Int 17:1189

The latest diagnostic tool for vertebral fractures.

DEXA scans offer semi-quantitative measurements of vertebral morphology, aiding in objective evaluation and clinical management of vertrabral fractures.