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Alternative namesX-ray - head; X-ray - skull; Skull radiography; Head X-ray
DefinitionThe skull X-ray is used to examine the bones of the skull, including the facial bones, the nose, and the sinuses. See also sinuses X-ray .
How the test is performedThe test is performed in a hospital radiology department or in the health care provider's office by an X-ray technician. You will be asked to lie on the X-ray table or sit in a chair. Your head may be placed in a number of positions.
How to prepare for the testInform the health care provider if you are pregnant. Remove all jewelry.
Infants and children:
The physical and psychological preparation you can provide for this or any test or procedure depends on your child's age, interests, previous experiences, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics as they correspond to your child's age:
How the test will feelGenerally, there is little or no discomfort during an X-ray. If there is a head injury , positioning the head may be uncomfortable.
Why the test is performedThis test may be performed when there has been trauma and/or injury to the skull or when symptoms indicate a disorder involving structural abnormalities may be present inside the skull (such as tumors or bleeding ). The X-ray is also used to evaluate an unusually shaped child's head.
What abnormal results meanA skull X-ray may show fractures, tumors, erosion or decalcification of the bone, or shifts in the soft tissues inside the skull. The X-ray may detect increased intracranial pressure , and congenital (existing at birth) anomalies (unusual structure).
Additional conditions under which the test may be performed include the following:
What the risks areThere is low radiation exposure. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the minimum amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image. Most experts feel that the risk is low compared with the benefits. Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks associated with X-rays.
Special considerationsA CT scan of the head is often preferable to a skull X-ray to evaluate head injuries .
Update Date: 5/5/2003Benjamin Taragin, M.D., Department of Radiology, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY. Review Provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT