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Facial X-Ray

How It Feels

You will feel no discomfort from the X-rays. The X-ray table may feel hard and the room may be cool. You may find that the positions you need to hold are uncomfortable or painful, especially if you have an injury.

Risks

There is always a slight risk of damage to cells or tissue from being exposed to any radiation, including the low levels of radiation used for this test. But the risk of damage from the X-rays is usually very low compared with the potential benefits of the test.

For example, the radiation exposure from a chest X-ray is about equal to the natural radiation exposure received during a round-trip airline flight from Boston to Los Angeles (Montreal to Vancouver) or 10 days in the Rocky Mountains (Denver, Colorado).

Results

A facial X-ray is a series of pictures of the bones in your face. A facial X-ray helps find bone fractures, tumors, foreign objects, infections, and abnormal growths or changes in bone structure or size. In an emergency, the doctor can see the initial results of a facial X-ray in a few minutes. Otherwise, a radiologist usually has the official X-ray report ready the next day.

Facial X-ray
Normal:

The bones of the face and orbital cavity are normal in size and shape.

No foreign objects or abnormal growths are present.

No broken bones are present.

The sinuses are clear. No inflammation or infection is present.

Abnormal:

Foreign objects, such as fragments of metal or glass, may be present.

Broken bones, such as the nasal bones or bones around the eye (orbital cavity), may be present.

Signs of a disease that affects the bones of the face or orbital cavity may be present.

Abnormal growths (tumors) are present.

Signs of sinusitis, such as fluid in the sinuses or a thick tissues lining the sinuses, may be present.

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • If you can't remain still during the test. The pictures may not be clear.
  • If you have a possible neck injury. In this case, it may not be possible to do a complete series of facial X-rays.
  • If you have a false eye (prosthetic eye) or other artificial or metal objects around the face. These can make a shadow on the X-ray picture that hides part of the bones.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 24, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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