Alternative Names skull radiograph, X-ray of the head, X-ray of the skull
Definition A skull X-ray is an imaging test that allows a doctor to see the bones that make up the skull, face, and nasal sinuses. A few brain abnormalities can be seen as well, such as calcium deposits inside the brain.
Who is a candidate for the test? A skull X-ray may be taken:
when there has been an accident or injury to the skull, known as a head injury
How is the test performed? A skull X-ray can be performed in a hospital, clinic, or office. The person is asked to lie or sit still on a special table. Many views, or pictures, are taken from the back, front, and sides.
What is involved in preparation for the test? All jewellery above the neck should be removed before the X-ray. Dentures should also be removed.
What do the test results mean? Normal findings are a normal skull and surrounding structures. Abnormal findings may be due to many problems, including:
a brain tumour or cancer which may have started in the skull or brain or spread to these areas
abnormal calcium deposits in the brain, which may be a sign of an infection, tumour, or other problem
a physical deformity of the skull in a baby, which may be present at birth or acquired when a newborn passes through the birth canal
Author: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS Reviewer: eknowhow Medical Review Panel Editor: Dr John Hearne Last Updated: 26/05/2005 Contributors Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request
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