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MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS >> Test >> X-Rays

X-rays (see see Common Imaging Tests: Plain X-Rays) are most valuable for detecting abnormalities in bone and are taken to evaluate painful, deformed, or suspected abnormal areas of bone. Often, x-rays can help to diagnose fractures, tumors, injuries, infections, and deformities (such as congenital hip dysplasia). Also, sometimes x-rays are helpful in showing changes that confirm a person has a certain kind of arthritis (for example, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis). X-rays do not show soft tissues such as muscles, bursae, ligaments, tendons, or nerves. To help determine whether the joint has been damaged by injury, a doctor may use an ordinary (non-stress) x-ray or one taken with the joint under stress (stress x-ray).

Arthrography is an x-ray procedure in which a radiopaque dye is injected into a joint space to outline the structures, such as ligaments inside the joint. Arthrography can be used to view torn ligaments and fragmented cartilage in the joint. However, MRI is now generally used in preference to arthrography.

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