Tuesday, March 22, 2011

X-rays for shoulder arthritis


In the normal shoulder, the ball of the humeral head and the glenoid socket of the scapula are covered with smooth articular cartilage. This cartilage gives the joint a coefficient of friction less than that of an ice skate on ice. It is this cartilage that is destroyed in shoulder arthritis.
Cartilage cannot be seen on X-rays, but the thickness of cartilage can be detected by observing the separation of the bones, the 'radiographic joint space'.


Let's take a look at how the shoulder should be x-rayed to diagnose shoulder arthritis and to plan a joint replacement.






In the shoulder, two X-ray views are essential for determining the 'joint space', the AP (anteroposterior) and the axillary views.
An AP view of a normal shoulder looks like this:
and an axillary view of a normal shoulder looks like this:
In each view one can see the separation of the ball from the socket due to the presence of cartilage in this normal right shoulder.
These views must be taken carefully to make sure that poor technique does not hide the true condition of the joint.

More about x-rays in arthritis can be found at this link.

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To see our new series of youtube videos on important shoulder surgeries and how they are done, click here.

Be sure to visit "Ream and Run - the state of the art"  regarding this radically conservative approach to shoulder arthritis at this link and this link. Also see the essentials of the ream and run.

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You may be interested in some of our most visited web pages   arthritis, total shoulder, ream and runreverse total shoulderCTA arthroplasty, and rotator cuff surgery