Interpreting An X-Ray: The ABC Principle
X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation. They are able to penetrate or pass through human tissue to produce images that reveal signs of disease and injury.
X-rays are used in procedures including:
- Radiography, which produces a still x-ray image
- Computed tomography, which gives more detailed still images
- Fluoroscopy, which enables the observation of motion within the body and certain diagnostic and treatment procedures
In order to describe a fracture, a systematic approach in interpreting an x-ray has to be used. This is referred to as the ABC as follows:
A – Alignment and adequacy
Alignment: The type of x-ray views taken and the anatomical site visualised e.g. “AP and lateral views of the left ankle”
Adequacy: X-ray is adequate if the beam penetration is neither over nor under exposed and the joints above and below the area of concern are included in the radiograph.
B – Bones: Outline and density
Outline: The contours of the bone should be followed and any abnormality commented on. Are there any bony outgrowths, callus and exostosis or fractures?
Look at each bone in sequence and comment on whether it is:
- Radio-lucent = thinner bone (osteoporotic)
- Radio-opaque = thicker than surrounding bones (chronic osteomyelitis, Paget’s disease, osteochondritis)
C – Cartilage: Outline, joint space and loose bodies
What condition is the cartilage in? Has it crumbled, worn away or damaged? Also look to see if there’s evidence of cartilage fragmentation or movement.
Are you a healthcare professional looking to learn more about X-ray interpretation and fracture diagnosis?
You may well benefit from PDUK’s online course: X-ray interpretation of minor injuries – includes Red Dot.
Ideal for nurses, ENPs, medical students and other allied healthcare professionals, it’s a one-day course worth 7 hours of CPD. There are two dates to choose from, and both are held online for interactive yet socially distanced CPD learning.
The upcoming dates are:
- 19th January 2021
- 7th May 2021
Note: Practitioners should ideally be working in an environment where X-ray interpretation is part of their role but it may be suitable for practitioners making referrals for X-rays at another location. Some experience with x-ray interpretation is required. Clinical areas include minor injury units, A&E departments, out of hour’s services and walk-in centres.
All course material, evaluations and a certificate of attendance are provided, but numbers are limited so book your place today.
Don’t forget our in-house course too!
Offering total flexibility, our in-house course tutors come to you so are a handy and economical way of training multiple colleagues. They’re tailor-made to suit your requirements, highly interactive and can be offered at a time and location to suit. As the group size is determined by you, they are easy to plan around social distancing too.
Again focussing on x-ray interpretation, PDUK’s Developing your limb x-ray interpretation skills course is ideal for practitioners with little or no experience in x-ray interpretation of minor injuries, plus anyone wanting to review their interpretation skills. It will help you and your practice give a more comprehensive service to your patients.
The programme will provide a mix of theory and practice, linking patient presentation with underlying anatomy and radiographic principles. History taking and mechanism of injury will be taught throughout the course.
As always, these courses are very well subscribed so it’s worth getting in early. Don’t miss out!