X-ray - skeleton
Alternate Names : Skeletal survey
A skeletal x-ray is an imaging test used to detect fractures, tumors, or conditions that cause wearing away (degeneration) of the bone.
Why is the Test Performed?
This test is used to detect or diagnose:
- Fractures or broken bone
- Cancer that has spread to other areas of the body
- Bone damage due to trauma (such as an auto accident) or degenerative conditions
A skeletal x-ray is often used in children suspected of being abused.
How is the Test Performed?
The test is performed in a hospital radiology department or in the health care provider’s office by an x-ray technologist. The test may be done while you lay on a table or stand in different positions in front of the x-ray machine, depending on the bone that is injured. You may be asked to change position so that different x-ray views can be taken.
The x-ray particles pass through the body. A computer or special film records the images that are created.
Structures that are dense (such as bone) will block most of the x-ray particles, and will appear white. Metal and contrast media (special dye used to highlight areas of the body) will also appear white. Structures containing air will be black and muscle, fat, and fluid will appear as shades of gray.
How to Prepare for the Test?
Tell the health care provider if you are pregnant. You must remove all jewelry.
How will the Test Feel?
The x-rays themselves are painless. However, changing positions and placing the injured area in the necessary position may be uncomfortable. If the entire skeleton is being imaged, the test usually takes 1 hour or more.
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