X-ray (radiography) of the bones of the forearm

An x-ray of the bones of the forearm is taken at the same time in order to assess the health of these structures, as well as the surrounding tissues. For the technique, the technology of narrowly focused x-rays is used, which best of all provide information about the health of the hardest structure of the body - the bones. It is not for nothing that, if a fracture is suspected, the victim will be sent immediately for x-rays in order to assess the degree and features of the lesion.

Non-invasive approach

One of the most important advantages of this diagnostic method is non-invasiveness, which is great for people with low pain thresholds, as well as children. Manipulation does not involve pain or significant discomfort.

It will take only a few minutes to get a kind of photo, and the picture itself will be taken in a couple of seconds. The rest of the time is spent on preparation to ensure a quality result. Here it is important to take into account the immobility factor, because careless shuddering at the time of taking the picture can be a reason for re-examination. Once again, it is unlikely that anyone will specifically want to expose the body to radiation exposure.

The contrast of the hard structure and soft elements provides visual information about the state of the studied structures of the body. The difference is due to the uneven density of tissues. But here one should prepare for the fact that high-precision visualization of the bones of the forearm will not be able to provide the same ideal picture of cartilage or blood vessels due to the limited possibilities of the diagnostic search for the technique itself. With additional suspicion of damage to surrounding structures and tissues to expand visual capabilities, which is especially important when searching not only for the alleged pathological focus, but also for determining the severity of the lesion, doctors insure themselves by prescribing computed or magnetic resonance imaging. Sometimes even these studies are not enough, and then an additional stage of contrasting is added to them. Such in-depth diagnostics will be relevant in situations where all the signs indicate that the patient may develop an oncological neoplasm. To assess the area of ​​the pathology, as well as the nature: benign or malignant, to assess the presence of metastases, you will have to undergo a number of studies, including laboratory ones.

The classic black and white visualization is a two-dimensional model of the specified zone. But since usually direct projection is not enough, the doctor suggests at the same time fixing the slice in the lateral position. The vigilance shown will be especially helpful if the victim is found to have shrapnel injuries, the severity of which is unlikely to be assessed by conventional methods.

The most common referral for diagnosis is a surgeon, a traumatologist, an orthopedist or a rheumatologist. But this applies to situations where the patient is sent for a planned appointment. Those who were taken by ambulance, or they managed to get to the hospital on their own, are checked out of turn, provided they are in a serious condition.

When minutes are counting and the victim needs surgery, they can take x-rays right in the intensive care unit. For this, the medical staff will use mobile equipment.

If the patient has a choice of which device to prefer, doctors insist on using the latest digital analogues. They load the body with less radiation, which is not available with older versions of X-ray equipment made more than twenty years ago. Although both generations of people are exposed to dosages within the normal range, older devices have a much worse effect on well-being.

Another positive nuance in favor of digital analogues is the ability to output the resulting image directly to a computer monitor. The data can be written to digital media, or printed using a printer on paper.

The information obtained will allow to recognize:

  • fractures;
  • deformations;
  • bruises.

Situations when a patient is worried about a fissure are considered separately. Here the difficulty lies in the fact that it will be possible to consider in detail the similar nature of the traumatic lesion only a couple of days after the incident. But this does not mean that in case of an injury, one should endure to the last, without seeking qualified help. The more a person puts off going to the doctor, the higher the chances for the development of complications.

When is it time for an appointment?

Signs indicating that something is wrong with the forearm are the same for both a child and an adult. Violation of the bone structure does not always tell about a classic fracture. The consequence of mechanical impact on the specified area may be:

  • dislocation;
  • subluxation;
  • violation of the integrity of the head of the humerus;
  • damage to the neck of the humerus;
  • anomalies of the lateral part of the scapula;
  • clavicle pathology.

This is not to mention the fact that standard indications always cover degenerative-dystrophic and inflammatory processes affecting the restriction of motor activity. The most prominent representatives here are called osteoarthritis and arthritis.

It does not do without radiography in cases where there is every reason to believe that a foreign body has fallen into the forearm.

A timely photograph will be an argument in favor of surgical intervention in order to get rid of a life-threatening object, and will also serve as a guide that will prompt the lesion for operational measures.

How is the procedure?

The main advantage of radiography is the absence of a mandatory preparatory stage, which is typical for computed and magnetic resonance imaging. It is not required to refuse food and drink immediately before the manipulation.


At the same time, the attending physician should be warned about whether the patient has built-in electronic mechanisms, the quality of which can be seriously affected due to exposure to the equipment. It would also be useful to inform the doctor about how long ago the studies were carried out with the involvement of X-rays, so that, if necessary and if possible, shift the date of diagnosis. And it does not matter what was checked for the last time, whether it was the lower limb or the nasal bone, because the irradiation was carried out on the whole body.

Beforehand, it is worth removing jewelry, other removable metal products that can noticeably degrade the quality of the picture. For the same purposes, it will be necessary to expose the area under study. But if there is already a previously installed gypsum on the forearm, or a bandage applied by a doctor, then it is not necessary to remove it.

The patient is placed on a medical couch, building the optimal position based on the need to use a certain projection. Sometimes it is required to use several projection options at once in order to deal with fragmental fractures or bone neoplasms.

If the assessment was carried out using digital equipment, then the results can be obtained almost instantly, which is especially valuable in emergency situations. But the description of the image made in the old fashioned way on film will have to wait much longer, especially for planned patients. At best, they will be asked to wait a couple of hours for the result.

The benefit outweighs the harm

Many people are familiar with the fact that X-ray exposure can have a negative effect on well-being. But for the examination of the forearm, dosages are used that are within the normal range for an adult. If the patient rarely needs such an examination, then the procedure will not cause any problems. Difficulties can begin only in the case of regular irradiation in the diagnosis of any parts of the body or the involvement of computed tomography. Especially it is necessary to be afraid of people with a weakened immune system. Their body has not yet adapted to normal functioning, acting as an excellent target for radiation damage.

In order to reduce the negative impact of x-rays, diagnostics should be carried out using special aprons made of lead material. They are applied to the two most sensitive areas:

  • genitals;
  • thyroid.

With the help of such a “shield” it will be possible to reduce the radiation exposure to children, because the age of up to 15 years is a relative contraindication. The reference to “relative” here refers to situations where the benefit of the examination far outweighs the perceived harm.

But pregnancy is considered a more significant prohibition. Despite the fact that for an adult, incoming radiation practically does not carry any load, the fetus reacts sharply to even the smallest changes in the radiation background, therefore, in order not to expose it to an increased load, doctors recommend expectant mothers to use sparing examination options, such as MRI or ultrasound. To minimize the risks, women are required to notify doctors of their pregnancy in advance in order to find alternatives.

Also, you should not make your own decisions about whether or not to have an x-ray based on how you feel unwell. It will not be enough for the doctor to receive complaints from the patient, he will definitely study his medical card for possible contraindications.

The average dosage that is used to irradiate the bones of the forearm is almost equal to the daily dose of radiation. This means that the level of radiation is about 0.001 mW that a person receives during the day from the environment.

If the projection is one, then it will not cause any significant consequences. But when examined several times a month with different projections, the body can “revolt”, reacting with headaches and other side effects. To reduce the risks, it is better to go to the clinic for manipulation, where modern and safe equipment is installed.

You also need to remember that the farther the person is located from the x-ray tube, the lower the percentage of exposure will be. The authors of innovative models of devices are aware of this, so they use a large shield for additional protection.

In general, all x-ray visits should be recorded on a special sheet included in the medical record. But now almost no one does this, so the patient himself should keep a record of the number of shots taken.