ZocdocAnswersWill an x-ray help the doctor see whether my hand is broken or fractured?

Question

Will an x-ray help the doctor see whether my hand is broken or fractured?

How else can doctors tell? I am a drummer and my hands are essential to me.

Answer

Almost any time that there is concern that you might have broken a bone, regardless of what part of the body is potentially involved, your doctor will order an x-ray. It is, most often, the best test to use to determine if there is a fracture. Additionally, it uses less radiation and is less expensive than almost anything else. This is because bones absorb so much more of the radiation that passes through them than does the surrounding soft tissue, and so even minor fractures appear readily. There are some cases where the fractures are so small that it is difficult to tell right after the trauma has occurred. In these cases, your doctor will sometimes recommend a follow up x-ray after the fact, as the fractures can sometimes appear when the bone is healing. If your doctor is concerned about the possibility of a fracture but is unable to tell based on the x-ray, he or she will sometimes treat it as a fracture just to make sure that it is going to heal appropriately. Especially in cases where fractures involve very important parts of the body, in this case, your hands, doctors will be very careful in treating them. Please speak with your doctor about your questions.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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