Lesson 17. Skull X-Rays
2-17. SKULL X-RAYS
a. Skull X-rays are the oldest, non-invasive neurological test used to evaluate the bones, which make up the skull. Because of complex anatomy of the skull, a series of films is usually required for a complete evaluation.
b. Diagnostic uses for skull X-rays:
- (1) To detect fractures in patient's with head trauma.
- (2) To help detect and assess increased intracranial pressure, tumors, bleeding, and infection.
- (3) To aid diagnosis of pituitary tumors.
- (4) To detect congenital anomalies.
c. Nursing implications.
- (1) Review the patient's clinical record to determine the reason (purpose) for the specific scheduled skull x-rays.
- (2) Approach and identify the patient.
- (3) Interview the patient to determine his/her knowledge of the purpose of the skull x-rays.
- (4) As indicated, explain to the patient the specific purpose of the skull x-rays in his/her situation. Explain purpose in a manner consistent with that offered by the physician to avoid confusing the patient.
- (5) Explain to the patient the events which will occur prior to the skull x-rays.
- (a) Patient is not required to restrict food and fluids before x-rays.
- (b) All jewelry and other metal objects must be removed from patient's head and neck and placed in safekeeping.
- (c) Tell the patient where and when the x-rays will be performed.
(6) Explain to the patient events which will occur during the skull x-ray procedure.
- (a) Patient will be placed in a supine position on a radiographic table, or seated in a chair, and instructed to remain still.
- (b) A headband, foam pads, or sandbags may be used to immobilize the patient's head and increase patient comfort.
- (c) Tell the patient that several (usually five) x-ray films of the skull will be taken from various angles.
- (d) Reassure patient that the procedure will cause no discomfort.
- (e) Films will be developed and checked before patient leaves the x-ray department.
(7) Explain to the patient events, which will occur after the procedure.
- (a) Patient will be returned to his/her room.
- (b) Physician will report the results of the x-rays to the patient when they are available.