Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Radiography: skull (basic)

Contributor(s): Fraser McConnell, David Perpinan

Introduction

  • Radiography of the skull requires general anesthesia or heavy sedation. This is the only way to obtain accurate projections.
  • Endotracheal tubes can interfere with the interpretation of the images.
  • A grid is not necessary.
  • The objective is to produce well-positioned radiographs which are correctly exposed and developed, free from movement blur and free from artifact.
  • The anatomical marker, the patient's identification, the date, and the name of the hospital or practice should be clearly shown.

Print off the Owner Factsheet on Xray and Ultrasound to give to your clients.

Clinical tip
Question: What are the most common conditions identified by skull radiography? 
Answer: Dental disease, fractures, osteomyelitis, rhinitis, abscesses, bulla disease, temporomandibular joint disease, ocular disease, soft tissue/bony neoplasia, identification of foreign bodies.

Uses

  • To identify Radiology: skull and dentition:
    • Dental disease Teeth: dental disease - overview .
    • Fracture Limb fracture .
    • Osteomyelitis Osteomyelitis: commonly associated with dental disease.
    • Rhinitis Rhinitis/sinusitis: radiography is not particularly effective to detect purulent discharge from the nasal cavity. CT scan or MRI are superior to visualise changes in the nasal cavity, and even endoscopy can be used in particular cases.
    • Abscesses Abscess: commonly associated with dental disease .
    • Bulla disease Otitis media/interna: radiography is not particularly effective to detect changes in the bulla, and CT or MRI are significantly superior .
    • Temporomandibular joint disease.
    • Ocular disease . However, radiography is not particularly effective to detect ocular changes, as many cases of exophthalmus are caused by retrobulbar abscesses, and CT or MRI provide a significantly superior image in these cases . Skull radiograph is indicated in cases of dacryocystitis or excessive lacrimation, as these cases are usually related to dental disease.
    • Soft tissue neoplasia Cutaneous neoplasia.
    • Bony neoplasia.
    • Foreign bodies: occasionally, needles and other foreign objects have been found inside the mouth of rabbits.

Advantages

  • Non-invasive (although it requires GA or sedation).

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Gibbs C & Hinton M H (1981) Radiological examination of the rabbit. 1. The head, thorax and vertebral column. JSAP 22, 687-703 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Capello V, Lennox A M & Widmer W R (2008) Clinical radiology of exotic companion mammals. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 528.
  • Cranfield F S et al (2006) Radiographic Anatomy of the Rabit Skull, with Particular Reference to the Tympanic Bulla (TB) and the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ). In: Proc BSAVA Congress. pp 530.
  • Rubel G A, Isenbugel E & Wolvekamp P (1991) Eds: Atlas of diagnostic radiology of exotic pets.W B Saunders Ltd, Philadelphia.


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