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Chiropractic Research Review

Radiographic Assessment of Shoulder Trauma

Scapular View Improves Diagnostic Specificity

The common approach to radiographic examination of the shoulder involves taking two anteroposterior (AP) views, one with the humerus in external rotation and one with the humerus in internal rotation.

However, when both of these views are taken in the true AP plane, some information may be missed and problems may be misdiagnosed.

A more effective method of evaluation may be to use another view which utilizes the scapular AP plane (rather than the anatomic AP plane) for the external rotation view. The effectiveness of this type of examination may be based upon the observation of a consistent reciprocal relationship between the anatomic plane and radiographic appearance of the glenohumeral and acromioclavicular joints, in the scapular AP view and in the anatomic AP view of the shoulder.

This relationship may be used to improve reliability in radiographic assessment of the shoulder joints, resulting in faster, more accurate evaluation of shoulder trauma and more effective case management.

Harding WG, Nowicki KD. Plane talk about shoulder radiographs. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, Feb. 1998;26(2), pp117-18.

Chiropractic Research Review

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