Wrist series

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 23 Mar 2023

The wrist series is comprised of a posteroanterior, oblique, and lateral projection. The series examines the carpal bones that are consisting of the scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum, pisiform, trapezium, trapezoid, capitate and hamate. It also examines the radiocarpal and distal radioulnar joint along with the distal radius and ulna.

See approach to wrist series for more information.


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


Standard projections
  • PA
    • demonstrates the metacarpals, radius and ulna in the natural anatomical position
    • the best view to inspect the joint spaces of the carpal bones and the distal radio-ulnar joint
  • oblique
    • external oblique projection of the wrist
  • lateral
    • projection 90° to the PA view
    • demonstrates multiple carpal bones overlapping
    • the essential view to assessing the alignment of the radius, lunate, and capitate in the setting of a suspected dislocation
Modified trauma projections
  • horizontal beam lateral wrist
    • modified lateral projection that requires little to no patient movement
    • produces a diagnostic lateral projection without risking patient pain
Additional projections

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