Wrist X-ray or hand X-ray – is a method of visualizing this area of the body using a small dose of ionizing radiation. X-ray of the bones of the hand and wrist is a quick, painless method for diagnosing various pathologies of the bones and joints of the distal upper limb. During the procedure, an X-ray machine passes a beam of X-rays through the wrist, and due to the difference in the passage of X-rays through various tissues, an image is obtained on X-ray film or a computer monitor. This image visualizes the soft tissue and distal bones of the forearm (radius and ulna) and the eight small bones of the wrist.
Wrist X-rays can be performed both in the clinic and in the hospital. Usually, pictures of the wrist are taken in two projections: one from the back, palm down, and one from the side. Sometimes the wrist is taken at an angle.
- The human hand is used for various purposes and is susceptible to both acute and chronic injuries of varying severity, from pinching or amputation of fingers, to bone fractures and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- The doctor may recommend a procedure if the patient has pain in the hand, wrist, or fingers, swelling, paleness, numbness, weakness, or tingling.
- For a complete diagnosis of injuries, the doctor may recommend not only wrist X-ray, but also other diagnostic methods, such as MRI or ultrasound .
- The procedure is indicated after injuries to the hand, fingers or wrist.
- Wrist X-ray and hand X-ray are used both to determine the degree of injury and the type of injury, which is very important for determining the appropriate treatment tactics. Also, x-rays are shown to determine the degree of development of arthritis (arthrosis).
Wrist X-rays can diagnose the following conditions:
- Fractures of the wrist bones
- Boxer fracture
- Colles Fracture
- Phalangeal fractures
- Compression fractures
- Joint dislocation
- Cartilage damage
Interpretations of images
- Once the X-rays are received, they are sent to the radiologist for examination and interpretation.
- The radiologist examines changes in color, the presence of cracks or fractures, pathological neoplasms. On the basis of comparison with clinical data, the radiologist describes the obtained results of the radiography, and the conclusion is then transmitted to the attending physician.
Before the procedure, the patient needs to remove jewelry, rings, bracelets or watches from his hand and wrist, but if it is difficult to remove accessories due to injury, then X-rays can be taken with them.
- The risks of x-ray from hand and wrist x-ray are very low. But they are common to all diagnostic methods using X-rays – this is the risk of developing cancer and the danger to the fetus in the womb.
- An X-ray of the hand and wrist joint requires a very small dose of radiation, and therefore the risk of developing oncology in this study is minimal.
- In case of possible pregnancy in women, a lead apron can be used to protect the abdominal area. Children should also wear an apron when examining to protect the reproductive organs.
X-rays can quickly diagnose bone abnormalities such as fractures and dislocations. But X-ray cannot determine the presence of damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves. If there is a suspicion of soft tissue damage, additional research methods (MRI, ultrasound) may be recommended.
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