What is the role of radiography in the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis (hay fever)?

Updated: Dec 26, 2018
  • Author: Javed Sheikh, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Answer

While radiographic studies are not needed to establish the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis, they can be helpful for evaluating possible structural abnormalities or to help detect complications or comorbid conditions, such as sinusitis or adenoid hypertrophy.

A 3-view sinus series (Caldwell, Waters, and lateral views) can be helpful in evaluating for sinusitis of the maxillary, frontal, and sphenoid sinuses. The ethmoid sinuses are difficult to visualize clearly on x-ray films. Plain x-ray films can be helpful for diagnosing acute sinusitis, but CT scanning of the sinuses is more sensitive and specific. For chronic sinusitis, plain x-ray films are often inconclusive, and CT scan is much preferred.

A lateral view of the neck can be helpful when evaluating for soft tissue abnormalities of the nasopharynx, such as adenoid hypertrophy.


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