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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 moved into other positions for more images.

How to Prepare for the Test

Tell the health care provider if you are pregnant. Remove all jewelry before the x-ray.

How the Test Will Feel

The x-ray is painless. It may be uncomfortable to move the joint into different positions.

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 show:

The test may also be performed to find out more about the following conditions:

Risks

There is low radiation exposure. X-ray machines are set 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: 4/14/2013
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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