How It Is Done
A skull 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).
You will need to remove any
jewelry that may be in the way of the X-ray picture. You will also need to
remove glasses or dentures.
You may be asked to lie on an X-ray
table or sit in a chair. The bones of the skull and face are so detailed that
several views from different angles are needed. A series of X-ray pictures is
usually taken from the front, back, top, and sides of your head. You should
hold your head completely still while the pictures are being taken. A padded
brace, foam pads, a headband, or sandbags may be used to hold your head in
place while the pictures are taken.
Skull X-rays usually take
about 10 to 20 minutes. You will wait about 5 minutes until the X-rays are
processed in case repeat pictures need to be taken. In some clinics and
hospitals, X-ray pictures can be shown immediately on a computer screen
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.
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).
A skull X-ray is a series of pictures of
the bones of the skull. In an emergency, the doctor can see the initial results
of a skull X-ray in a few minutes. Otherwise, a
radiologist usually has the official X-ray report
ready the next day.
The bones of the skull are
normal in size and appearance.
No foreign objects, abnormal
growths, or bone abnormalities are present.
No broken bones are
Foreign objects, such as
fragments of metal or glass, may be present.
Abnormal growths, such as
tumors, may be present.
Broken bones may be
Signs of a disease that
affects the bones of the skull may be present.