Pediatric wrist (lateral view)

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 23 Mar 2023

The lateral wrist view for pediatrics is one of three views in order to examine the carpal bones, distal radioulnar joint and metacarpals.

This projection is an orthogonal view of the PA wrist and is used to diagnose fractures and localize foreign bodies in pediatric patients. It also provides information on the type of wrist fracture as an anteroposterior or posteroanterior dislocation can be diagnosed. 

  • patient is either seated alongside the table or supine with arm outstretched
  • the affected wrist is placed with palm on the image receptor
  • the wrist and elbow should ideally be at shoulder height to demonstrate the radius and ulna correctly
  • lateral projection
  • centering point
    • midcarpal region
  • collimation
    • laterally to the skin margins
    • include the metacarpals superiorly
    • include the distal third of the radius and ulna inferiorly
  • orientation
    • portrait
  • detector size
    • 18 cm x 24 cm
  • exposure 1
    • 40-52 kVp
    • 2-3 mAs
  • SID
    • 100 cm
  • grid
    • no

There is superimposition of the ulna head and distal radius. The 2nd to 5th metacarpals are also seen to be superimposed 2.

Preparing the room beforehand (setting up the detector, exposure and preparing lead gowns) is important as pediatric patients may not remain still when their affected wrist is moved onto the detector. 

It is important for the radiograph to be free from motion artifact and rotation to avoid repeated x-rays.

  • it may be necessary for the parent or radiographer to hold the patient in position
  • ideally the parent should be in the child's direct line of sight
  • techniques will vary based on the department
  • distraction techniques can be utilized to avoid scattered radiation to parents and staff 3

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Cases and figures

  • Normal pediatric wrist series
    Drag here to reorder.
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