|Other encyclopedia topics:||A-Ag Ah-Ap Aq-Az B-Bk Bl-Bz C-Cg Ch-Co Cp-Cz D-Di Dj-Dz E-Ep Eq-Ez F G H-Hf Hg-Hz I-In Io-Iz J K L-Ln Lo-Lz M-Mf Mg-Mz N O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q R S-Sh Si-Sp Sq-Sz T-Tn To-Tz U V W X Y Z 0-9|
|Contents of this page:|
Alternative NamesX-ray - hand
Definition Return to top
A hand x-ray is a medical image of one or both hands.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation like light, but of higher energy. They can pass through the body to form an image on film. Structures that are dense (such as bone) will appear white, air will be black, and other structures will be shades of gray.
A hand x-ray is taken in a hospital radiology department or your health care provider's office by an x-ray technician. You will be asked to place your hand on the x-ray table, and keep it very still as the picture is being taken. You may need to change the position of your hand, so additional images can be taken.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
Inform the health care provider if you are pregnant. Remove all jewelry.
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
Generally, there is little or no discomfort associated with x-rays.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
Hand x-ray is used to detect fractures, tumors, or degenerative conditions of the hand. Hand x-rays may also be performed to assist in determining the "bone-age" of a child in order to determine if metabolic or nutritional disorders are interfering with proper growth.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
Abnormal results may include fractures, bone tumors, degenerative bone conditions, and osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone caused by an infection).
Risks Return to top
There is low radiation exposure. X-rays are monitored and regulated to provide the minimum 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 x-rays.
References Return to top
Mettler FA. Skeletal system. In: Mettler FA, Jr, ed. Mettler: Essentials of Radiology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2005:chap 8.
Rogers LF, Talianovic MS, Boles CA. Skeletal trauma. In: Grainger RC, Allison D, Adam, Dixon AK, eds. Diagnostic Radiology: A Textbook of Medical Imaging. 4th ed. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 2001:chap 46.Update Date: 8/11/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, 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.