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X-Ray Hand 2 Views

X-raying Basics:

A hand X-ray is a painless diagnostic test that uses a small amount of radiation to take a picture of a patient's hand. The radiation is targeted at the injured hand, and a black-and-white image is created on the digital screen. Hand X-rays are usually used to confirm or exclude a suspected fracture in the diagnostics of RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and the functional/mechanical hand and wrist complaints. 

Why Do You Need A Hand X-ray? 

A Hand X-ray shows the soft tissues along with wrist bones (carpal bones), the joints between the wrist bones and fingers (metacarpal bones), and the fingers (phalanges). It's essential to treat a broken hand as soon as possible. Otherwise, bones might not heal properly, resulting in obstruction of daily tasks such as writing or stirring tea. Prompt treatment also minimizes the pain and stiffness experienced. 

Your doctor may request a Hand X-ray for a variety of indications, including: 

● Dislocation of fingers 
● Suspected Fractures (tuft fracture, volar avulsion fracture, boxer's fracture, spiral fracture, CMC-I fracture)
● Skier's thumb
● Investigation of joint pain/deformity
● Extensor tendon damage
● Malalignment
● Scapholunate Dislocation
● Scaphoid Fracture
● Bone Mineralization and erosion
● Calcification of cartilage and joint spaces
● Swelling and calcification of soft tissue

If a doctor decides to move ahead with surgical treatment, they may require X-rays to plan for surgery and assess the target results of the operation. 

A Hand X-ray is also the primary diagnostic tool in detecting later stages of infection, cysts, tumors, and diseases of the bone of the hand. It is common for a Hand X-ray to be employed as a bone-age study that helps doctors diagnose disorders with abnormal bone growth.  

When Do You Need It? 

A hand fracture can be caused by falling onto an outstretched hand, experiencing blunt force trauma, playing contact sports, or being involved in vehicular accidents. In the latter case, bones in hand may break from various locations, often into many pieces, and the patient has to be rushed for surgical treatment and repair. 

Your doctor will request a Hand X-ray if you experience the following symptoms: 

● Severe pain that exacerbates with any movement, attempt to grip or squeeze
● Tenderness
● Inflammation and swelling
● Bruising
● Apparent signs of deformity such as a floppy joint or crooked finger
● Sensations of numbness and stiffness in hand or fingers

How Do You Need To Prepare?

There is no special preparation required for a Hand X-ray; however, keep the following points in mind before your appointment: 

● If there are chances of pregnancy, inform your physician and radiologist to discuss the exposure limit for the developing fetus. 
● Remove any jewelry or metal objects that might distort the radiographic image.
● Consult the X-ray technician if you wear any on-body devices such as an insulin pump or have metal implants from prior surgeries
● You may be asked to change into the hospital gown for the imaging at the time of the scan.

What Can You Expect?

A radiologist will guide you into the X-ray room and seat you alongside the table. You will be asked to bend your affected arm at almost 90°. The affected hand is then placed palm down on the X-ray detector with fingers equal distance apart. 

The technician will adjust your position based on the indication you're getting the X-ray taken.  Each position will be curated to assess for fractures, erosion, and injury. 

If you are getting the scans to confirm or exclude a fracture, the technician will image the hands and fingers in two directions/positions for best assessment. What Do Your X-ray Results Mean?

A radiologist will study your X-rays and send a detailed report to your surgeon, who will discuss the results and explain what they mean. In case your scans show abnormal results, they may include: 

● Greenstick or complete fractures
● Tumor, cysts, and infections of the bone
● Degenerative bone diseases
● Osteomyelitis (inflammation and irritation of the bone caused by an infection)

Your doctor will now use these results in conjunction with clinical symptoms and physical exams to diagnose injury, monitor the diseases, or observe abnormal bone growth. After a diagnosis is made, your doctor will discuss treatment plans with you. Do not hesitate to ask questions from your doctor if you don't understand anything. 

Related X rays:

Wrist X-ray, Forearm X-ray, Scapula X-ray, Bone Age Study