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A hand X-ray is an examination involving images of one or both hands.
X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation like light, but of higher energy, so they can 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.
How the test is performedThe test is 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 hand to be X-rayed on the table. The pictures are then taken, repositioning the hand for different views.
How to prepare for the testInform the health care provider if you are pregnant. Remove all jewelry.
Infants and children:
The physical and psychological preparation you can provide for this or any test or procedure depends on your child's age, interests, previous experiences, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics as they correspond to your child's age:
How the test will feelGenerally, there is little or no discomfort associated with X-rays.
Why the test is performedHand 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 meanAbnormal results may include fractures , bone tumors , degenerative bone conditions, and osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone caused by an infection).
What the risks areThere 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.
Update Date: 5/5/2003Benjamin Taragin, M.D., Department of Radiology, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY. Review Provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT