Skeletal Survey – In general a skeletal survey used to identify focal or widespread abnormalities of the skeleton. This survey recommended by the doctors for several other purposes as well, such as:
- To investigate known or suspected physical abuse in children.
- Also, look for congenital abnormalities in the skeleton.
- To look for bone diseases in patients with known or suspected cancer.
- The survey was also done for adults, who have suspected cases of multiple myeloma (a kind of cancer) to look for bone involvement.
- For suspected metabolic bone disease, like rickets or scurvy, etc.
About Skeletal System
A Skeletal Survey is a series of X-rays of all the bones in the body. The survey also generally done for the axial skeleton and large cortical bones. The human skeleton is the internal framework of the body. It works as a support system for the body’s structure. The body needs its skeletal system to work flawlessly. It has six main uses –
- Protection of all the internal organs
- Production of blood cells
- Storage of minerals
- Endocrine Regulation
How To Take Skeletal Survey
A typical skeletal radiography survey consists of about twenty plain X rays of the entire body. Specifically this consists of the following radiograph exams:
- Both arms
- Both legs
Procedure For Skeletal Survey Radiograph
The survey contains of three steps in total for a smooth procedure, which we have compiled below:
- Before the survey
Doctors usually order for a skeletal survey as a part of the evaluation of some condition that suspected to involve bones. It may be due to a congenital syndrome in children or an abnormal blood report in adults.
A skeletal survey performed to check the involvement of bones as an underlying issue. There are a few things to keep in mind before preparing for the survey, such as:
- Timing – The test can last for an hour, so the patient should accordingly, free up enough time from his schedule.
- Location – They were generally done on an outpatient basis. It is done at an imaging center, associated with the patient’s hospital. It can sometimes also be done at the emergency department, in case of urgent issues in children.
- What to wear – For a skeletal Radiography survey, the patient asked to change into a gown. It is provided by most hospitals themselves.
- During the Survey
- Pre-test – For the test, adult outpatients can get checked into the imaging center. The test is done at an X-ray suite by a radiology technologist. Skeletal requires a head to toe radiographs, so patients asked to change out of street clothes into a hospital-provided gown.
The test does not require any other preparation like a dye or intravenous catheter.
- Throughout the test – A general skeletal survey consists of twenty X-rays. The x-rays performed with the person either standing or even laying down. The radiologic technologist relays to the patient all the proper instructions.
Radiology of some extremities done by laying the extremity on a horizontal x-ray table.
- After the test – After the completion of the survey, the person allowed to go back home. She/he can resume all normal activities without any precautions.
Skeletal Survey Results
After the X-rays, the radiology center prints the images from the test. The images then sent to the concerned doctor or physician. The doctor then interprets the images and communicates the results in the form of a written report.
The results usually take one or two business days to become available. Sometimes web based portals also allow the patients to see the results right away.
- If the skeletal survey conducted to evaluate multiple myeloma or any other form of cancer. The radiology report will detail those bone abnormalities.
- And If the survey was conducted to find the presence of child abuse, then the report will state if there are any bone fractures – directing to abuse or not.
- If a congenital syndrome suspected, then the report will state if the appearance of the bone suggests any form of such a syndrome.
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Risks or Inadequacies
A Skeletal survey uses x-rays for the imaging study. X-rays involve radiation exposure. For a complete survey, the body has to undergo twenty x-rays. It associated with a moderate dosage of radiation.
Undergoing skeletal surveys once or twice in a single life would not be considered too harmful. There is a low risk of any adverse health effects from just one survey. However, it is advisable to keep the radiation levels as low as possible. Pregnant women and children should especially take caution.
A Skeletal radiography survey is a perfectly normal test, which doctors can recommend if they see something worth investigating in the bones. This survey also cost-effective, being less costly than MRIs or PET scans. The average price of a full skeletal scan is Rs 1500 up to Rs 3000.
People Also Ask On Skeletal Survey
The time taken for the pathology of a bone depends on the number of body parts to be scanned. It also depends on the health conditions of the patient.
A survey is not recommended for pregnant women, since the x-rays can prove harmful for the growing child.
Medical conditions such as fractures, arthritis, osteoporosis, sports injuries or bone cancer can lead to such advice.
It is not advisable to kids because of the harmful nature of radiation for them.
The survey has its limitations, such as in cases of asymptomatic myeloma.
If a skeletal survey leads to concerning results, then the doctors can recommend a PET scan or an MRI for further investigation.