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X-ray Interpretation

The ABC'S of Interpreting an X-ray

In order to describe a fracture, a systematic approach in interpreting an x-ray has to be used.

A - Alignment & Adequacy

  • Alignment - the type of x-ray views taken and the anatomical site visualised e.g. "AP and lateral views of the left ankle"
  • Adequacy - x-ray is adequate if the beam penetration is neither over nor under exposed and the joints above and below the area of concern are included in the radiograph.

B - Bones - Outline & Density

  • Outline - The contours of the bone should be followed and any abnormality commented on (e.g. fracture, callus and exostosis (bony outgrowth))
  • Density - Look at each bone in sequence and comment on whether it is:
    • Radio-lucent = thinner bone (osteoporotic)
    • Radio-opaque = thicker than surrounding bones (Paget's disease, chronic osteomyelitis, osteochondritis)

C - Cartilage - Outline, Joint space & Loose Bodies

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Regional Radiology
Imaging in Orthopaedics
X-ray Interpretation
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