Thumb series

The thumb series is comprised of a posteroanterior and oblique, projection. The posteroanterior projection is interchangeably performed anterioposter or posteroanterior depending on mobility. It examines in detail the first metacarpal and its articulations. Thumbs have a vital impact in our day to day lives, often injuries of the thumb can have life changing consequences if they are serious enough 2

See fractures of the thumb for more information.

Indications

Thumb x-rays are indicated for a variety of settings including:

  • suspected metacarpal dislocation
  • foreign body detection and localisation
  • investigation of joint pain or deformity
  • mechanism specific injuries such as skier's thumb 

Projections

Standard projections
  • AP/PA view

    • demonstrates the first metacarpal in the natural anatomical position

    • excellent view to inspect shafts of the metacarpal

    • excellent view to evaluate any avulsions at the ulnar corner of the base of the proximal phalanx (see figure 4)    

  • oblique view
    • external oblique projection of the thumb
  • lateral view
    • orthogonal view of the AP/PA view 
    • essential view to examine joint spaces
Radiographic views
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Article information

rID: 29862
Section: Radiography
Tag: shetty
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Thumb series radiographs
  • Thumb series x rays

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Cases and figures

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    Figure 1: thumb frontal
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    Figure 2: thumb lateral
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    Figure 3: thumb oblique
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    Figure 4: skier's thumb - type I
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    Figure 5: PA thumb
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    Figure 6: oblique thumb
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    Figure 7: lateral thumb
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