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Carpal Bone Injuries Workup

  • Author: Bryan C Hoynak, MD, FACEP, FAAEM; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
Updated: Jan 11, 2016

Laboratory Studies

See the list below:

  • No laboratory studies are indicated in cases of isolated wrist injury. However, erythrocyte sedimentation rate analysis can be helpful for monitoring the degree of inflammation involved with a chronic wrist problem.

Imaging Studies

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  • The majority of wrist fractures can be assessed adequately with good-quality AP and lateral radiographic images.[11] The palmar slope of the articular surface of the distal radius is appreciated on a lateral x-ray film of the wrist. A slope of 11 º is normal.
  • For distal radius fractures, measure the palmar slope to assess the degree of angulation. Determine whether the fracture is intra-articular, and note the presence of any step-off at the articular surface. The ulnar styloid is chipped in approximately 60% of all patients with this fracture.
  • For scaphoid fractures, the fracture may be at the wrist, tuberosity, or proximal pole. If a scaphoid fracture is strongly suggested, a posteroanterior view of the scaphoid with the wrist in ulnar deviation may distract the fragments and make the fracture more apparent.
  • A bone scan or magnetic resonance imaging study may be necessary to detect occult fractures that may not be visualized on plain radiographs.[12, 13]
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Bryan C Hoynak, MD, FACEP, FAAEM Associate Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of California at Irvine School of Medicine; Director of Emergency Services, Chairman of Division of Emergency Medicine, Placentia-Linda Hospital

Bryan C Hoynak, MD, FACEP, FAAEM is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American Burn Association, American College of Surgeons, American Heart Association, American College of Emergency Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Russell D White, MD Clinical Professor of Medicine, Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Department of Community and Family Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Truman Medical Center-Lakewood

Russell D White, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, American College of Sports Medicine, American Diabetes Association, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Sherwin SW Ho, MD Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Section of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences, The Pritzker School of Medicine

Sherwin SW Ho, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Arthroscopy Association of North America, Herodicus Society, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

Disclosure: Received consulting fee from Biomet, Inc. for speaking and teaching; Received grant/research funds from Smith and Nephew for fellowship funding; Received grant/research funds from DJ Ortho for course funding; Received grant/research funds from Athletico Physical Therapy for course, research funding; Received royalty from Biomet, Inc. for consulting.

Additional Contributors

Janos P Ertl, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine; Chief of Orthopedic Surgery, Wishard Hospital; Chief, Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy, Indiana University School of Medicine

Janos P Ertl, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, Hungarian Medical Association of America, Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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