X-ray is a series of pictures of the bones in your
face. One type of facial X-ray (called a paranasal sinus X-ray series) looks at
the air-filled cavities (sinuses) around the nose and eyes.
are a form of radiation, like light or radio waves, that are focused into a
beam, much like a flashlight beam. X-rays can pass through most objects,
including the human body. X-rays make a picture by striking a detector that
either exposes a film or sends the picture to a computer. Dense tissues in the
body, such as bones, block (absorb) many of the X-rays and look white on an
X-ray picture. Less dense tissues, such as muscles and organs, block fewer of
the X-rays (more of the X-rays pass through) and look like shades of gray on an
X-ray. X-rays that pass only through air, such as through the lungs, look black on the picture.
See a picture of the
bones of the face .
A facial X-ray helps find bone
fractures, tumors, foreign objects, infections, and
abnormal growths or changes in bone structure or size. An X-ray of the eye
(orbital cavity) may be taken if the eye has been injured. A
computed tomography (CT) scan may be needed to check
any problems seen on X-ray.
Why It Is Done
A facial or sinus X-ray may be done
- Find problems of the sinuses of the face and
nose, such as
sinusitis or abnormal growths (polyps or
- Find fractures of the facial bones and
- Check the bones around the eye (orbital
- Check the sinuses before surgery.
- Check for
metal objects around the eyes before a
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Look for the cause of pain in the face.
How To Prepare
Before the X-ray test, tell your doctor
if you are or might be pregnant. Pregnancy and the risk of radiation exposure
to your unborn baby (fetus) must be
considered. The risk of damage from the X-rays is usually very low compared
with the potential benefits of the test. If a facial X-ray is absolutely
necessary, a lead apron will be placed over your abdomen to shield your baby
from exposure to the X-rays.
Talk to your
doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks,
how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the
importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
You don't need to do anything else before
you have this test.
How It Is Done
A facial X-ray is taken by a radiology
technologist. The X-ray pictures are usually read by a doctor who specializes
in interpreting X-rays (radiologist),
but other doctors may also review the films.