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Alternative Names Return to topX-ray - neck; Cervical spine x-ray
Definition Return to top
A neck x-ray is an imaging test to look at cervical vertebrae, the seven bones in the neck area.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
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 to determine injury, care will be taken to prevent further injury. The x-ray machine will be positioned over the 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 changed positions so that additional scans can be taken. Usually three to seven different views are needed.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
Tell the health care provider if you are pregnant. Remove all jewelry.
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
This test does not cause discomfort, but the table may be cold.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
The x-ray is used to evaluate neck injuries and persistent numbness, pain, or weakness.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
The test will detect abnormalities such as fractures, dislocations, thinning of the bone (osteoporosis), and deformities in the curvature of the spine. The test may also detect bone spurs, disk problems, and degeneration of the vertebrae.
Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:
Risks Return to top
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 the x-ray.
Considerations Return to top
Other tests, such as MRI, may be used to look for disk or nerve problems.Update Date: 7/17/2007 Updated by: Stuart Bentley-Hibbert, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.