Skeletal survey

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Skeletal survey
Medical diagnostics
ICD-9-CM 88.31

A skeletal survey (also called a bone survey[1]) is a series of X-rays of all the bones in the body, or at least the axial skeleton and the large cortical bones. A very common use is the diagnosis of multiple myeloma, where tumour deposits appear as "punched-out" lesions. The standard set of X-rays for a skeletal survey includes X-rays of the skull, entire spine, pelvis, ribs, both humeri and femora (proximal long bones). It has been found to be much more sensitive than MRI and isotope scans to detect bone involvement in multiple myeloma.[2]

Skeletal surveys are also used with suspected non-accidental injury in children (CE [3] guidelines state that 19 images of the child are taken.) These are reported on by a consultant paediatric radiologist and often copies are made. A skull CT is also done in connection with the radiographs.


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  2. ^ Lecouvet F, Malghem J, Michaux L, Maldague B, Ferrant A, Michaux J, Vande Berg B (1999). "Skeletal survey in advanced multiple myeloma: radiographic versus MR imaging survey.". Br J Haematol. 106 (1): 35–9. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2141.1999.01529.x. PMID 10444160. 
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