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Shoulder Xray Scan

Discomfort in the shoulder is a common complaint, and a shoulder X-ray can be used to help diagnose various causes. From minor injuries such as rotator cuff tears and shoulder instability to major issues like bone fractures and dislocations, an X-ray can help accurately diagnose the condition.

The X-ray scan involves sending a very small amount of radiation through the body, which produces images that are used to detect structural abnormalities in the shoulder joint. It is important to note that while X-ray scans provide valuable insights into shoulder issues, they are not always conclusive. Therefore, it is essential to follow up with a doctor to discuss the results of the scan and explore further diagnostic tests.

What Is the Purpose of a Shoulder X-ray Examination? 

A shoulder X-ray examination is a medical procedure used to diagnose potential problems, such as fractures or dislocations of the bones in the shoulder joint. It provides doctors with an insight into the bone structure and anatomy of the shoulder, which allows them to identify and diagnose potential underlying issues accurately.

In some cases, an Iodine-based contrast dye may be injected into your arm. A series of detailed X-ray images may be taken to provide additional diagnostic information and clarify suspicious areas. These images can help to direct further treatments, such as physical therapy or corrective surgery.

What Are Some Common Conditions That Can Be Detected With a Shoulder Xray Exam?

X-rays can help detect a wide range of conditions, some of which can be quite serious. It’s important to understand what x-rays can reveal about your shoulder health so you can be aware of any potential issues or concerns. Let’s take a look at some of the common conditions that can be detected with a shoulder x-ray exam. 

1. Arthritis

Arthritis is a degenerative joint disorder caused by wear and tear on the joint or cartilage or from an autoimmune condition such as rheumatoid arthritis. A shoulder x-ray is often used to diagnose this condition, as it can show signs of joint damage and inflammation that may indicate arthritis. An x-ray may also reveal calcium deposits in the joint, which could indicate osteoarthritis. 

2. Benign Bone Tumours

Benign bone tumours are noncancerous growths in the bones that are usually caused by abnormal cell development or genetic conditions. They generally do not spread to other body parts and don’t require aggressive treatment, but they can still cause pain if they press against nerves or tissue. X-rays are often used to diagnose benign bone tumours, as they can clearly show their shape and size on an image.  

3. Bone Cancer

Bone cancer is an uncommon type of cancer that affects the cells in your bones. While there are many different types of bone cancer, an x-ray is usually one of the first steps taken when diagnosing these types of cancers since it can give doctors a better idea as to where and how large the tumour is located. It’s important to note that a shoulder x-ray cannot definitively diagnose bone cancer; further tests such as MRI scans and biopsies will likely be necessary for diagnosis purposes. 

4. Broken Bones (Shoulder Fractures)

Broken bones occur when too much force is applied to a particular area, causing it to break or fracture. Shoulder fractures, such as a clavicle fracture near the ac joint and humeral head fracture, are particularly common due to their mobility; any activity involving physical contact, such as sports or accidents, can easily cause this type of injury. X-rays are one-way physicians use to detect broken bones, as they clearly display any fractures in the bones on an image. 

5. Bursitis 

Although Bursitis can’t be 100% diagnosed with an x-ray, it’s still a useful tool to detect it. Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa, which are small fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between bones and tendons in joints like the shoulder. X-rays can help diagnose this condition by revealing any swelling or fluid buildup in the joint, which would indicate bursitis.

6. Dislocated Shoulder 

A dislocated shoulder occurs when the humerus (upper arm bone) moves out of its normal position in relation to the scapula (shoulder blade). It can be caused by trauma or may occur spontaneously due to weakened muscles or ligaments. A shoulder x-ray can reveal whether or not there has been any displacement of the humerus from its normal position and help diagnose a dislocated shoulder, such as anterior shoulder dislocation or posterior shoulder dislocation. 

7. Problems With Alignment Of The Shoulder Joint 

The shoulder joint is composed of several bones and muscles, such as the Humeral head, Acromioclavicular joint and Glenohumeral joint, that must move together correctly for optimal movement and stability. An X-ray exam can help detect if there are any misalignments in this joint that could cause pain, limited range of motion, or instability. If misalignment joint space is detected, further imaging tests may be ordered to determine what type of treatment may be necessary to correct it.  

How Often Should You Get a Shoulder X-ray Examination?

Getting a shoulder X-ray examination is an important part of maintaining your health, as it gives us a better insight into the overall condition of one’s joints. With an X-ray, we are able to detect early irregularities and begin treatment before more serious damage occurs.

For a normal healthy adult, we recommend getting regular X-ray examinations every 12 months. This is often best done after a consultation with your doctor or chiropractor for an assessment that may demonstrate that something more pressing needs attention.

Staying on top of updates via these examinations will help you stay ahead of any potential issues and ensure that you have a successful long-term treatment plan for optimal health outcomes.


What to Expect From Your Shoulder X-ray?

Knowing what to expect before, during, and after your shoulder x-ray can help you feel more comfortable about the procedure. Read on for an overview of what you should expect from your shoulder x-ray. 

Before the Scan 

Before your scan, you will likely be asked to remove any clothing or jewellery that may interfere with the scan. If you are wearing a watch or belt buckle that could affect the results of the scan, it will need to be removed as well. You may also be asked to change into a hospital gown so that metal objects such as zippers and buttons do not affect the results of the scan either. Be sure to ask any questions that you have before the scan begins so that you are fully prepared and understand what is going on. 

During the Scan 

During your shoulder x-ray, you will be asked to lie down on a table while an X-ray technician moves an X-ray machine around your body in order to get different angles of your shoulder joint and surrounding structures. During this time, it’s important to remain still, so that accurate images are captured and no motion blur occurs in them. Depending on how many images are being taken, this process usually lasts for a fraction of a second per x-ray.

After the Scan 

Once all of the images have been taken, they will be sent off for review by a radiologist, who will make a diagnosis based on them. In some cases, results may come back within 24 hours, but it can take up to two days for more complex cases or if additional tests need to be done before making an accurate diagnosis. Once these results have been reviewed by your doctor and discussed with you, then treatment options can then begin if necessary. 


Who Are the Candidates for Shoulder X-rays?

Anyone who is experiencing pain or discomfort in their shoulder should consider getting a shoulder x-ray. This exam can help diagnose various conditions such as fractures, tumours, and misalignment. It may also be used to monitor the progression of certain conditions over time.

In addition to those with acute symptoms, individuals involved in sports that involve throwing or contact will benefit from regular x-ray examinations. This is especially important for athletes, as they are at greater risk of developing conditions such as shoulder dislocations or fractures due to the strain placed on their bodies during physical activities.

If you have any concerns about your shoulder, it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional about getting an X-ray. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action and answer any questions you may have.