Skeletal survey

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Skeletal survey
ICD-9-CM 88.31

A skeletal survey 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 scan s to detect bone involvement in multiple myeloma.[1]

Skeletal surveys are also used with suspected non accidental injury in children (under 2 years of age).

The NICE [2] 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.

A skeletal survey can also be some to see some skeletal dysplasia, usually all long bones are radiographed, but only one side of the extremities.


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^