A thoracic spine x-ray is an x-ray of the twelve chest (thoracic) bones (vertebrae). The vertebrae are separated by flat pads of cartilage that cushion them.
Vertebral radiography; X-ray - spine; Thoracic x-ray; Spine x-ray; Thoracic spine films; Back films
How the test is performed
The test is done in a hospital radiology department or in the health care provider's office. You will lie on the x-ray table in different positions. If the x-ray is checking for an injury, care will be taken to prevent further injury.
The x-ray machine will be moved over the thoracic area of the spine. You will hold your breath as the picture is taken, so that the picture will not be blurry. Usually two or three x-ray views are needed.
How to prepare for the test
Tell the health care provider if you are pregnant. Remove all jewelry.
How the test will feel
The test causes no discomfort. The table may be cold.
There is low radiation exposure. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the minimum amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image. Most experts feel that the risk is low compared with the benefits.
Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of x-rays.
The x-ray will not detect problems in the muscles, nerves, and other soft tissues, because these problems can't be seen well on an x-ray.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
are leaving the St. Francis Health Center/Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth
Health System website. Persons visiting this external site assume full
responsibility for use of its information and agree that St. Francis/SCLHS is
not responsible or liable for claim, loss/damage arising from this use or for
the content of any external site. Your use of any external site is subject to
our full disclaimer.