X-Ray Sternoclavicular Joint
The SC Joint or Sternoclavicular Joint is one of the four joints that make up the shoulder. The SC joint is located where the collarbone (clavicle) meets the breastbone (sternum) at the base of the neck.
Problems with the SC joint are uncommon but may be a result of injury and other disorders.
Why Do You Need A Sternoclavicular X-ray?
SC joint pain is the most common condition in Sternoclavicular issues. The typical symptom includes pain at the spot where the clavicle meets the sternum. This pain may present as a mild sprain but may be much sharper in cases of dislocation or fracture, worsening with any arm movement.
Other signs and symptoms related to conditions of the SC Joint may include:
● Tenderness, bruising, or swelling over the joint
● sounds mimicking crunching and grinding when you try to move your arm
● Curbed range of motion in the arm
● Simultaneous pain in other joints in case of Rheumatoid Arthritis
There may be redness over the joint in joint infection cases, and the patient may experience fever, chills, and night sweats.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of a joint infection, seek urgent medical assistance.
Sternoclavicular joint injuries are uncommon injuries and may involve ligaments of its associated joints. They may result from trauma due to vehicular accidents, falls or contact, and collision sports.
When Do You Need It?
If you have sustained trauma from a motor vehicle accident or collision sports like football, you may injure the SC joint. While SC joint injuries may be painful, they are mainly minor and heal well without surgical intervention. A hard blow to the SC joint may damage vital nerves and organs that lie nearby or cause joint dislocation in rare cases. In this case, you must seek medical help immediately.
Like any other joint, the SC joint may be damaged over time as the protective tissue wears thin and exposes sensitive nerves that cause pain. This generative condition can cause pain, stiffness, and limited motion in the arm and shoulder.
The most common disorders associated with SC joint are:
● mild sprain, in which the surrounding ligaments are stretched (the most commonly seen injury
● fracture of the clavicle (collarbone) itself
● participating in collision and contact sports like football or rugby
● motor vehicle accident
How Do You Need To Prepare?
No special preparation is required for a Sternoclavicular X-ray; however, keep the following points in mind before your appointment:
● If there is a chance 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 To Expect?
A radiologist will guide you into the X-ray room and position you alongside the examination table. It may be performed in an erect position if the patient is stable.
The technician will adjust your position based on the indication for which you're getting the X-ray taken. Each position will be curated to assess for fractures, erosion and injury.
The technician will ask you to lie in several different positions on the examination table to take the X-ray image from multiple angles.
You will be asked to stay very still or hold your breath for a few seconds as the exposure is taken. You won't feel anything during the X-ray, as it is not painful, although you might feel discomfort holding a position.
A lead apron will cover any parts that are not being imaged to block any unnecessary exposure. When the X-ray is done, you will be asked to wait while the technician develops the images and confirms they are non-blurry. If necessary, you will have to undergo the procedure again.
What Do Your X-ray Results Mean?
A radiologist will study your results and draw findings, produce a report and send it to your primary health care provider, who will explain what the results mean.
Your doctor will then review the report and look for any signs of damage or disease. The findings of this report will prove essential to make diagnostic and treatment decisions.
Your injury may require non-surgical treatment such as immobilization, activity modification, and closed reduction. In rare cases, it may require surgical treatment such as open reduction or other procedures.
Your doctor will be sure to discuss the X-ray results as well as the treatment options with you.