An x-ray of the sinuses may sometimes be used to confirm a suspected diagnosis of acute sinusitis.
An x-ray of the sinuses was formerly the standard method of diagnosing acute sinusitis in the sinuses behind the cheeks (maxillary sinuses) or behind the eyebrows (frontal sinuses). Because a computed tomography (CT) scan shows a much clearer picture of the sinuses and other structures, the use of standard x-rays has declined.
But standard x-rays are commonly used to help distinguish uncomplicated sinusitis from other problems that may cause similar symptoms, such as problems with the jaw joint, dental infections or headache. The findings are often not reliable, though, so they should be evaluated with caution.
If complications of sinusitis such as a bone infection develop or if it becomes necessary to see more of the sinuses or bones that surround them, a CT scan may be needed.
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