Neck x-ray

  • 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; 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 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. 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.