A sinus X-ray is an imaging test that uses X-rays to look at your sinuses. The sinuses are air-filled pockets (cavities) near your nasal passage.
X-rays use a small amount of radiation to create images of your bones and internal organs. X-rays are most often used to find bone or joint problems, or to check the heart and lungs. A sinus X-ray is one type of X-ray.
A sinus X-ray is simple and quick, and does not involve any instruments that are put into your body (noninvasive). It can give your healthcare provider useful information. But a sinus X-ray can only tell your provider that a problem exists. It does not show a specific cause of the problem.
A CT scan or MRI may give better images of your sinuses. You may have one of these scans instead of a sinus X-ray in certain cases.
You may need a sinus X-ray if your healthcare provider thinks that you may have:
You may also need a sinus X-ray after sinus surgery.
Your provider may have other reasons to recommend a chest X-ray.
You may want to ask your healthcare provider about the amount of radiation used during the test. Also ask about the risks as they apply to you.
Consider writing down all X-rays you get, including past scans and X-rays for other health reasons. Show this list to your provider. The risks of radiation exposure may be tied to the number of X-rays you have and the X-ray treatments you have over time.
Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant. Radiation exposure during pregnancy may lead to birth defects. If you need to have a sinus X-ray, the technologist will take special care to keep the radiation exposure to the fetus at a minimum.
You may have other risks depending on your specific health condition. Be sure to talk with your provider about any concerns you have before the procedure.
You may have a sinus X-ray as an outpatient or as part of your stay in a hospital. The way the test is done may vary depending on your condition and your healthcare provider's practices.
Generally, a sinus X-ray follows this process:
The sinus X-ray is not painful. But you may have some discomfort or pain from moving into different positions if you have had recent surgery or an injury. The technologist will use all possible comfort measures and do the scan as quickly as possible to minimize any discomfort or pain.