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Skeletal spine
Skeletal spine


Vertebra, cervical (neck)
Vertebra, cervical (neck)


Cervical vertebrae
Cervical vertebrae


Definition:

A neck x-ray is an imaging test to look at cervical vertebrae, the seven bones in the neck area.



Alternative Names:

X-ray - neck; Cervical spine 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 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:

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 persistent numbness, pain, or weakness.



Normal Values:



What abnormal results mean:

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:



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 the x-ray.



Special considerations:

Other tests, such as MRI, may be used to look for disk or nerve problems.




Review Date: 7/17/2007
Reviewed By: Stuart Bentley-Hibbert, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100