Stress Radiographs in Orthopaedic Surgery

Paul M. Lafferty, MD, William Min, MD, MS, MBA and Nirmal C. Tejwani, MD J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 17, No 8, August 2009

Stress radiographs are useful in determining the amount of ligamentous laxity present following trauma. The results may be helpful in determining diagnosis, surgical indications, and the type and timing of rehabilitation. Some techniques for obtaining stress radiographs involve specific patient positioning or manually applied force; others require use of a particular testing device. Stress radiographs may be obtained for a variety of anatomic areas and joints. The parameters that define abnormality on stress radiographs should be compared with those of clinical findings. The use of common and novel methods to obtain stress radiographs has led to improved identification and diagnosis of many orthopaedic pathologies. Some of these techniques have been developed with the aim of reducing patient discomfort or minimizing the clinician’s exposure to radiation.

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