Skeleton X-Ray: Purpose, Uses and Risks

A skeletal x-ray is a type of x-ray which examines your bones. Your body is made up of 206 bones (skull, ribs, spine, arms and legs. (1)

An X-ray is a best or standard imaging test that allows physicians to see the interior of your body without having to make an cuts or incision. X-rays are electro-magnetic radiation waves that are absorbed by different tissues in different ways. Bones absorb electro -magnetic radiation well because of their density. (2)

Skeletal radiography is an incredibly useful tool for your physician when evaluating your bones. This type of radiographic imaging has revolutionized the diagnosis of skeletal fracture or spine damage. (3)

Typical Uses of a Skeletal X-Ray

The skeleton is the backbone or structure of the our body. It gives protection for our inner organs and allows for movement. All muscles are connected to the skeleton via ligaments or tendons. When your skeleton gets damaged, This support is no longer available effectively and could result in serious health problems.

Traditional skeletal radiographs can assist your doctor in identifying damage caused by a fall or traumatic accident, monitor the development of a disease or monitor the effects or benefits of some treatment methods.

Skeletal X-rays are often performed in an emergency following an injury, such as a accident like vehicle accidents or fall from stairs. Your physician will prescribe an X-ray in any area that causes severe pain to determine if you have one or multiple bones are broken.

Your physician may prescribe skeletal radiography if you have signs or symptoms of diseases that affect bones, like pain and swelling. These include:

  • fractures
  • infections
  • arthritis
  • bone cancer
  • dental conditions
  • osteoporosis

The Risks of a Skeletal X-Ray

X-rays use low levels of radiation. The exposure level is considered to be safe for adults. Modern radiography techniques minimize the risk of x-ray radiation exposure and the chance of damage is very small. However, in a developing fetus, radiation should be kept to a minimum.

This is one of the reasons why precautions are taken to protect the abdomen and pelvis with lead cover during radiography. If you need an X-ray and are pregnant (or think you are pregnant), don’t forget to tell your physician before the any test.

Most X-rayes are fast and painless. If you have an x-ray because of a traumatic event that caused pain and potentially a fracture, You may feel extra pain while taking the X-ray. The test involves adjusting your body so that the technologist can capture clear images. This can be uncomfortable for you. If you are concerned, you may want to talk to your doctor about pain medication before your X-ray.

How to Prepare for a Skeletal X-Ray

The X-rays is the standard procedure. You don’t need to do much to be ready for it.

According to the study area, you can wear loose and comfortable clothing so that it is easy to move around. Maybe you’ll have to change your hospital dress for the test. You will be given an apron of lead to protect your reproductive organs.

You will be asked to remove jewellery, glasses, piercings or other metal objects from your body prior to radiography. You should always let your physician know if you have metallic implants from previous surgical procedures, such as heart valves or pacemakers.

In certain cases, your doctor may have chosen to prescribe a radiograph because you implanted metal into your body. Other tests, like MRIs, can be risky for people who have metal implants.

How a Skeletal X-Ray Is Performed

X-rays of the skeleton are taken in the radiology department of a hospital or in a clinic specialised in diagnostic procedures. An X-ray Technologist will ask you to move to a certain position to obtain the correct view.

The technician will probably need you to lie, sit, or stand in a number of different positions during the trial. For certain images, it may be necessary to stand in front of a specialty plate containing X-ray film or sensors.

Depending on the area being examined, the technician will move a large camera attached to a steel arm across your body. This makes it possible to capture X-ray images of your bones using a film or sensors maintained in the table.

While the pictures are taken, you should hold your breath and not move. This ensures that the images are as clear as possible.

The test is completed once the radiology technologist and radiologist are satisfied with the images collected.

Following Up After a Skeletal X-Ray

After the test, you may return to your usual clothes and resume your normal activities immediately.

Your radiologist and physician will examine the x-rays and discuss your status. The results of your X-ray scan can be available the same day.

Your physician will consult the radiographs and the radiologist’s report and determine the appropriate course of action. They may ask for additional imaging tests, blood tests or other diagnostic measures to help you achieve an accurate diagnosis. Once your physician has found out what is wrong, you may start treatment.

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