Soft Tissue Neck X-Ray

A soft tissue neck x-ray is a diagnostic test that is used to visualize abnormalities of the soft tissues of the neck. This type of x-ray should be performed with the patient’s neck extended and at end-inspiration. This will maximize visualization of the airways and minimize false widening of the prevertebral space.

lateral soft-tissue neck x-ray

A lateral soft-tissue neck X-ray can be a useful tool in diagnosing suspected upper aerodigestive tract pathology. This type of radiographic study can also be a useful aid to doctors when treating patients who have hyperextension of the neck. This radiographic study is the most useful for diagnosing retropharyngeal abscesses.

One study looked at lateral soft-tissue neck xrays in 232 adult patients, 95 of whom had esophageal FBs, and 140 patients without FBs. In both groups, four signs were detected on lateral neck radiography. Among these, abnormal radiopaque density, loss of cervical lordosis, and cervical soft-tissue thickness were all found. These signs were present in patients of various age groups, ranging from 18 to 75 years old.

When performing lateral soft-tissue neck radiography, the patient should be positioned in an erect or supine position. Any jewelry or clothing must be removed from the patient, as these can cause artifacts. The patient should also be in a true lateral position, with the neck extended and the shoulders as low as possible.

Signs of abscess

A soft-tissue neck x-ray can be a useful diagnostic tool in determining the presence of abscesses. It can also reveal airway foreign bodies or other symptoms such as croup or epiglottitis. The images are not always informative, however.

The abscess will appear darker than the surrounding soft tissues, and the liquid pus will be visible. In some cases, the patient will need to undergo surgical drainage. If this is not possible, the patient may be prescribed antibiotics. If the abscess is large and complicated, the patient may need to be admitted to the hospital.

A man in his late thirties with HIV is undergoing routine follow-up for cerebral toxoplasmosis. He has a peritonsillar abscess with slight surrounding enhancement. A larger hypodense abscess is also visible, and it deviates the airway. The right soft-tissue neck CT shows swelling and inflammatory stranding of subcutaneous fat. In addition, a tiny fleck of air indicates that the abscess has originated from the mandibular tooth.

Contrast aids in detecting abnormalities

A CT scan is a medical procedure that uses a contrast dye to better detect soft tissue abnormalities in the neck. This type of imaging method does not use ionizing radiation and is therefore safe for pregnant women. However, the procedure will require that the patient remain still. If this is difficult, the doctor may prescribe a sedative or general anesthetic.

A CT exam can also detect abnormalities in bone, teeth, and soft tissues. While it is a more invasive procedure, it yields much lower radiation exposure than a conventional x-ray. A contrast-assisted soft-tissue x-ray is only 30% as high-dose as a conventional x-ray.

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