What Is a Skull X-Ray?
X-ray is an imaging test doctors use to see the bones of the skull, including
the facial bones, the nose, and the sinuses. It’s an easy, quick, and effective
method that has been used for decades to help doctors view the area that houses
your most vital organ — your brain.
Why a Skull X-Ray Is Done
to your X-ray, your doctor will tell you the exact reason for your X-ray. A
skull X-ray is typically done after a traumatic head injury. The X-ray allows your
doctor to inspect any damage from the injury.
reasons you may undergo a skull X-ray include:
- decalcification of the bone
- deformities in the skull
- fractures (of skull, or facial bones)
- frequent headaches
- infection of the bones of the skulls
- occupational hearing loss
How to Prepare for a Skull
require little preparation on your part.
the X-ray, you may need to undress from the waist up and change into a hospital
gown. You may be able to keep your clothing on if your clothing doesn’t have
metal snaps or zippers. You’ll have to remove any jewelry, eyeglasses, and
other metals from around your head. This includes necklaces and earrings. Metal
can interfere with the clarity of the X-ray image.
your doctor if you have any kind of surgically implanted device, such as a
metal plate in your head, an artificial heart valve, or a pacemaker. Even
though these things might interfere somewhat with the image, your doctor may
still choose to do an X-ray. Other scans, such as an MRI, can be risky for people
with metal in their bodies.
How a Skull X-Ray Is
X-ray will be performed in a special room with a movable X-ray camera attached
to a large metal arm. It’s designed to be able to take multiple X-rays of
various body parts.
skull X-ray, you’ll sit in a chair or lie down on a specialized table. A drawer
under the table contains the X-ray film or a special sensor that helps record
the images on a computer. A lead apron will be placed over your body, which
will protect your body (especially the genital region and breasts) from
X-ray technician may have you lie on your back to start, but you’ll have to
change positions so the camera can capture front and side views. While the
images are being taken, you’ll be asked to hold your breath and stay very
still. You won’t feel the X-ray pass through you.
procedure should take about 20 to 30 minutes. Once the test is complete, you
can go about your day as you normally would.
The Risks of a Skull X-ray
X-rays use radiation, none of it remains in your body when the test is done.
Doctors argue that the benefits of the test outweigh any risk from exposure to
the minimal amount of radiation produced.
while the level of exposure is considered safe for adults, it’s not safe for
developing fetuses. If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, talk to your
Results and Following up
After a Skull X-Ray
radiologist and your doctor will go over the images, which are usually
developed on large sheets of film. As the radiation passes through your body
onto the film, denser materials, such as bone and muscle, appear white. Tumors
and other growths may also appear white. When presented against a lit
background, your doctor and radiologist will be able to determine any problems.
on what the X-rays show, your doctor may order other follow-up imaging scans,
such as an MRI or CT scan.