Neck x-ray

Neck X-Ray

A neck X-ray is a diagnostic imaging test that uses low levels of radiation to create pictures of anatomy in the neck region including the structures of the neck, throat, thyroid, larynx, and other anatomy. The imaging test is used to assess a range of conditions that can affect the neck, such as diseases, inflammation, trauma, and tumors.

Why Get A Neck X-Ray?

A neck X-ray may be requested by a physician to help diagnose:

  • Trauma to the neck
  • Lymph node pathologies
  • Infections
  • Airway obstruction
  • Thyroid enlargement
  • Bone pathology
  • Cancer

Types Of Neck X-Ray

There are several types of neck X-rays available:

  • Anterior/Posterior (AP) – This type of X-ray uses two images taken at different angles to show the front and back of the neck.
  • Dynamic – A dynamic X-ray is taken while the patient is asked to twist and tilt their head in order to capture how the head is in motion.
  • Lateral – This type of X-ray is taken with the patient’s head tilted to the side to get a profile view of the neck.
  • Lateral- Oblique – A lateral-oblique X-ray is taken with the patient’s head tilting slightly forward and to the side to get an angled view.
  • Cervical– A cervical X-ray is used to look at the spine and show any abnormalities that may exist.

Neck X-Ray Preparation

Before the X-ray, there may be some preparation that needs to be done. This includes:

  • Removing any jewelry or metal objects.
  • Changing into a hospital gown.
  • Having an intravenous catheter placed.
  • Receiving contrast dye, if necessary.

Neck X-Ray Procedure

During the X-ray session, the patient will need to remain as still as possible while the X-ray technician captures the essential views of the neck. The procedure will take approximately 10-15 minutes. Once the X-rays are complete, the radiologist will review them and create a report with his or her findings.

Neck X-Ray Risks

Neck X-rays are generally considered safe and the amount of radiation used is very low. However, if contrast dye is needed for the procedure, the patient may experience an allergic reaction, though this is rare. There is also a risk of incorrect results due to motion blur or incorrect positioning during the X-ray.

When To Get A Neck X-Ray

A neck X-ray should be done if a doctor suspects a condition that could affect the structures of the neck or if the patient is experiencing pain or swelling in the neck. It is also a good diagnostic tool for diagnosing conditions such as progressive issues with the thyroid, throat or larynx.