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Skull (lateral view)

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 23 Jan 2021

The skull lateral view is a non-angled lateral radiograph of the skull. This view provides an overview of the entire skull rather than attempting to highlight any one region.

This projection is used to evaluate for skull fractures, in addition to neoplastic changes and Paget disease. In the trauma setting, a horizontal beam lateral projection may demonstrate air-fluid levels in the sphenoid sinus 1, an indication of basal skull fracture.

  • lateral projection
  • centering point
  • collimation
    • superiorly to include skin margins
    • inferiorly to include base of skull
    • anteriorly to include frontal bone
    • posteriorly to the skin margins 
  • orientation  
    • landscape
  • detector size
    • 24 cm x 30 cm
  • exposure
    • 60-70 kVp
    • 10-20 mAs
  • SID
    • 100 cm
  • grid
    • no
  • remove earrings, glasses, hairclips, hearing aids and dentures to avoid artifact obscuring important pathology

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1
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  • Figure 2: skull positioning lines
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  • Figure 3: cranial landmarks
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  • Case 1: normal lateral skull radiograph
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  • Case 2: normal skull
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  • Case 3: Paget disease
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