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Joint x-ray

Definition

This test is an x-ray of a knee, shoulder, hip, wrist, ankle, or other joint.

Alternative Names

X-ray - joint; Arthrography; Arthrogram

How the test is performed

The test is done in a hospital radiology department or in the health care provider's office. The x-ray technologist will help you position the joint to be x-rayed on the table. Once in place, pictures are taken. The joint may be repositioned for different views.

How to prepare for the test

Inform the health care provider if you are pregnant. Remove all jewelry.

How the test will feel

The x-ray is not uncomfortable, except possibly from positioning the area being x-rayed.

Why the test is performed

The x-ray is used to detect fractures, tumors, or degenerative conditions of the joint.

What abnormal results mean

The x-ray may reveal arthritis, fractures, bone tumors, degenerative bone conditions, and osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone caused by an infection).

The test may also be performed to investigate the following conditions:

What the risks are

There is low radiation exposure. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the smallest amount of radiation exposure needed to produce the image. Most experts feel that the risk is low compared with the benefits. Pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of the x-ray.

References

Renner JB. Conventional radiography in musculoskeletal imaging. Radiol Clin North Am. 2009 May;47(3):357-72.


Review Date: 5/1/2011
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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