An x-ray is a quick, painless test that generates images of the structures inside your body.
Plain skull x-rays usually are not necessary for diagnosis except to help determine if changes in the bones of the skull have taken place. (Slow-growing tumors can cause calcification; increased intracranial pressure might cause thinning of the bones of the skull, also known as bony erosion.) X-rays may also be used to determine the condition of the skull near meningeal and skull base tumors.
X-rays go through your body, but they are absorbed in different amounts depending on the density of the material they pass through. Dense materials, such as bone and metal, show up white on x-rays. The air in your lungs appears black. Fat, muscle, and other tissues are varying shades of gray.
X-ray images may help the doctor form a preliminary diagnosis and suggest the type of tumor. However, they do not provide much information beyond that. The only way to get an exact diagnosis is to look at a tumor tissue sample under a microscope.
It is important to note that the information provided here is basic and does not take the place of an in-person assessment by a physician. If you have any questions about how brain tumors are diagnosed, please contact your doctor.