X-rays of the extremities are images of the hands, wrists, and feet. X-rays are a form of radiation that penetrate 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.
See also: Bone x-ray
Extremity x-rays are performed in a hospital radiology department or in the health care provider's office by an x-ray technician. You will be asked to position the extremity to be x-rayed on the table. The pictures are then taken, usually with repositioning of the extremity for different views.
Inform the health care provider if you are pregnant. Remove all jewelry from the area being imaged.
In general, there is no discomfort, although you may be slightly uncomfortable while the extremity is positioned for the x-ray.
Extremity x-ray is used to detect fractures, tumors, or degenerative conditions of the extremity.
The x-ray shows normal structures for the age of the patient.
Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:
- Foreign body detection
There is low-level 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 an x-ray.
Reviewed By: Stuart Bentley-Hibbert, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.