Unremarkable cervical spine radiographs

For many years, the standard radiographic view of the cervical spine was the lateral projection. This is the projection that is used to find C1C2 and C3C4.

Now, the standard view of the cervical spine is also the axial view. This image shows us the entire cervical spine. This view is commonly used for both diagnostic and surgical purposes.

Because the cervical spine is so complex, the axial view is not the best view to show us the entire cervical spine. It is usually a 2D image, which means it shows a slice of the spine.

Because of this, the axial view is sometimes used as part of a C1C2 fusion. This is a surgical procedure that fuses one or more vertebrae into a single piece.

The lateral view can be useful when we are trying to see what is going on in the brain.

It is not common to see C1C2C3C4 on a lateral view of the cervical spine.

The axial view is usually used to look at the entire C1C2 cervical spine.

How to get a lateral cervical spine radiograph?

There are a few different ways we can get a lateral cervical spine radiograph.

When we get an emergency service or accident scene radiograph, we are going to get a lateral cervical spine radiograph. We might also get a “posteroanterior” or “posteroanterior and lateral” view. This means we get both an axial and lateral view of the cervical spine.

If the lateral view is not available, we will get an anteroposterior, oblique, or oblique and lateral view.

Once we get the lateral cervical spine radiograph, we are going to put it in the X-RAD format. This means we will be able to view the lateral cervical spine in a 3D format. If we had a lateral cervical spine radiograph before, we will be able to view it in the 3D format.

This is important because we can see how the vertebrae are misaligned if we get the lateral cervical spine radiograph at an inappropriate angle.

How to use a lateral cervical spine radiograph?

For the lateral cervical spine radiograph, we will need to put the technologist in the room with the patient.

Before we get started, we need to get a good idea of how we are going to place the patient.

Typically, the technologist will place the patient with their back against a firm surface, such as a table. This is called the “prone” position.

We will then move the patient to the lateral position. At this point, the patient’s back will be against the X-ray machine.

For the lateral cervical spine radiograph, the technologist will rotate the X-ray machine to the side, move the patient so that they are looking at the side of the X-ray machine, and then position the patient’s head in the proper position.

Once we have placed the patient in the proper position, the technologist will start the X-ray machine and take the lateral cervical spine radiograph.

We will likely be in the process of getting the lateral cervical spine radiograph for about 30 minutes.

The radiograph will take about 45 minutes to complete.

If the lateral cervical spine radiography is not available, we will get the anteroposterior, oblique, or oblique and lateral view instead.

What do we see on a lateral cervical spine radiograph?

There are a few different types of lateral cervical spine radiographs. In this section, we will be showing you the most common types of lateral cervical spine radiographs.

The most common lateral cervical spine radiograph type is a lateral cervical spine radiograph.

For this type of lateral cervical spine radiograph, we are going to be using a fluoroscopy.

Fluoroscopy is a special type of X-ray that allows us to view the patient’s spine from the side. It is a way of seeing the spine from the side.

When we want to do a lateral cervical spine radiography, we are going to put the patient in the fluoroscopy position.

When the fluoroscopy is not available, we will be able to get a lateral cervical spine radiography with an anteroposterior, oblique, or oblique and lateral view.

When we get a lateral cervical spine radiography, the technologist is going to move the X-ray machine back and forth. This is to view the C2C3 and C3C4 areas.

The lateral cervical spine radiograph will take about an hour to complete.

The images that are created from the lateral cervical spine radiography will look like this:

What does this mean?

On this image, we are looking at the C2C3 and C3C4 areas. These are the areas where we are going to want to look for instability.

If we are able to see clear images of the C2C3 and C3C4 areas, we might be able to see instability in those areas.

However, we cannot tell for sure if we are able to see instability if we do not see clear images of these areas.

What should we be looking for on a lateral cervical spine radiography?

When we get a lateral cervical spine radiography, we are looking at the C2C3 and C3C4 areas.

We will want to look for instability in these areas.

The most common signs of instability include:

  • Bone spurs. Bone spurs are hard, round bone formations that can form on the C2C3 and C3C4 areas. Bone spurs are often caused by the wear and tear of the spine.
  • Herniated discs. Herniated discs occur when there is an abnormal separation of the different layers of the disc.
  • Spondylosis. Spondylosis is a condition in which bone spurs and a degenerated disc compress and irritate the nerve root.
  • Scalloping. Scalloping is a condition in which a bone spur grows over the vertebrae.

What is the difference between an anteroposterior and lateral cervical spine radiograph?

Anteroposterior and lateral cervical spine radiographs both allow us to view the whole spine. However, an anteroposterior cervical spine radiograph is an image that is taken from the front of the patient.

Lateral cervical spine radiographs are taken from the side.

If we have questions about why we would get a lateral cervical spine radiography versus an anteroposterior cervical spine radiography, please contact our office.

What do we do with a lateral cervical spine radiography?

Once we have the lateral cervical spine radiograph, we are going to send it to our radiology department.

If the radiologist is going to be ordering an MRI, we will need to get the lateral cervical spine radiography back to our radiology department.

Once we have the lateral cervical spine radiography back, our technologists will place the patient in the MRI machine.

What do we see on an MRI?

An MRI is an imaging test that uses magnets and radiofrequency waves to create images of the body’s soft tissues.

An MRI can be used to view any part of the spine. It can be used to view the discs, ligaments, joints, and bone.

What should we be looking for on an MRI?

If we see clear images of the C2C3 and C3C4 regions, we might be able to see instability in these areas.

To summarize

An anteroposterior cervical spine radiograph (sometimes called a lateral cervical spine radiography) is an image that is taken from the front of the patient.

A lateral cervical spine radiography is an image that is taken from the side.

Images by Freepik

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