Practice and Perception of Radiographers on the Positioning Techniques of Erect Lateral Cervical Spine Radiography in Non-trauma Adult Patients


Background: The visualization of the lower cervical spine (C-spine), including the C7-T1 junction on lateral radiograph is a challenge due to the overlapping of the shoulder girdle. Therefore, the radiographers have adapted different positioning strategies to overcome this challenge. This study explores the current practice and perception of radiographers on positioning techniques of erect lateral cervical spine radiography in non-trauma adult patients.

Methods: This prospective study was conducted with a self-administered, structured questionnaire distributed among 50 radiographers working in four selected hospitals in Sri Lanka.

Results: The radiographers used weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing positioning techniques for the erect lateral C-spine radiography. Most of them employed the standing breath-holding technique for image acquisition with or without exertion. While 54% of the radiographers utilized two water-filled cans during the weight-bearing technique, 82% used holding arms back with the shoulders down and pulling as low as possible in the non-weight-bearing technique. In addition, 88% of the radiographers believed that the weight-bearing position could increase the visibility of the C-spine. Almost all the radiographers (100%) stated that correct positioning instruction could improve the visibility of the C-spine.

Conclusion: Radiographers have mainly used two positioning techniques of weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing for erect lateral C-spine radiography for non-trauma adult patients. In addition, most radiographers had a positive attitude toward the weight-bearing technique in the evaluation of lateral C-spine. These results highlight the importance of conducting studies to evaluate the effectiveness of the weight-bearing technique in erect lateral C-spine radiography.


cervical spine, erect lateral radiography, positioning techniques, current practice, non-trauma adult patients

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