X-ray – neck; Cervical spine x-ray; Lateral neck x-ray
How the test is performed
This test is performed in a hospital radiology department or in the health care provider’s office by an x-ray technologist.
You will lie on the x-ray table. If the x-ray is being done to check for injury, care will be taken to prevent further injury.
The x-ray machine will be moved over your neck area. You will be asked to hold your breath while the picture is taken, so that the picture will not be blurry.
You will be asked to change positions so that more scans can be taken. Usually three to seven different views are needed.
How to prepare for the test
Tell the health care provider if you are pregnant. Remove all jewelry.
How the test will feel
This test does not cause discomfort, but the table may be cold.
Why the test is performed
The x-ray is used to evaluate neck injuries and numbness, pain, or weakness that does not go away. A neck x-ray can also be used to help see if air passages are blocked by swelling in the neck or something stuck in the airway.
What abnormal results mean
The test can detect:
Deformities in the spine
Thinning of the bone (
Wearing away of the vertebrae
The test may also be performed for:
Cervical spondylosis Croup syndrome Epiglottitis
- Foreign body
What the risks are
There is low radiation exposure. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the minimum amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image. Most experts feel that the risk is low compared with the benefits.
Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of x-rays.
Other tests, such as MRI, may be used to look for disk or nerve problems.