Articles

Articles are a collaborative effort to provide a single canonical page on all topics relevant to the practice of radiology. As such, articles are written and edited by countless contributing members over a period of time. A global group of dedicated editors oversee accuracy, consulting with expert advisers, and constantly reviewing additions.

60 results found
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Abdominal trauma

Abdominal trauma is usually divided into blunt and penetrating trauma. Findings of abdominal trauma haemoperitoneum splenic trauma: most common hepatic trauma renal trauma pancreatic trauma gastrointestinal tract (bowel) trauma: proximal jejunum is most commonly affected by blunt trauma,...
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Acute aortic syndrome

Acute aortic syndrome (AAS) describes the presentation of patients with one of a number of life threatening aortic pathologies that give rise to aortic symptoms. The spectrum of these aortic emergencies include: aortic dissection aortic intramural haematoma penetrating atherosclerotic ulcer ...
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Amputation

The term amputation refers to the disconnection of all or part of a limb from the body. Specifically amputation is defined as removal of the structure through a bone. This is in contrast to disarticulation, which is removal of the structure through a joint. Terminology When due to trauma, trau...
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Avulsion fractures of the knee

Avulsion fractures of the knee are numerous due to the many ligaments and tendons inserting around this joint. They include 1: anterior cruciate ligament avulsion fracture posterior cruciate ligament avulsion fracture avulsion of the medial collateral ligament origin of MCL avulsion fracture...
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Barton fracture

Barton fractures are fractures of the distal radius. It is also sometimes termed the dorsal type Barton fracture to distinguish it from the volar type or reverse Barton fracture. Barton fractures extend through the dorsal aspect to the articular surface but not to the volar aspect. Therefore, i...
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Birth trauma

Birth trauma relates to those conditions caused by both physical/mechanical and hypoxic injuries. Epidemiology Birth trauma occurs in ~5 per 1000 births 2. Risk factors asphyxia breech presentation shoulder dystocia instrument delivery macrosomia obstructed labour Pathology Aetiology ...
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Blunt traumatic neck injury

Blunt traumatic neck injury is uncommon because it is usually protected by the head, shoulders, and chest. This term is generally used to refer to injuries of the neck besides to cervical spine injuries, which are common.  Pathology Blunt injury to the neck is most commonly from motor vehicle ...
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Butterfly fragment (fracture)

Butterfly fragments are large, triangular fracture fragments seen commonly in comminuted long bone fractures. The term is commonly used in orthopaedic surgery, and results from two oblique fracture lines meeting to create a large triangular or wedge-shaped fragment located between the proximal a...
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Cerebral herniation

Cerebral herniation, also referred to as acquired intracranial herniation, refers to shift of cerebral tissue from its normal location, into an adjacent space as a result of mass effect.  Pathology There are a number of different patterns of cerebral herniation which describe the type of herni...
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Cervical spine fractures

Cervical spine fractures can occur secondary to exaggerated flexion or extension, or because of direct trauma or axial loading. Pathology The cervical spine is susceptible to injury because it is highly mobile with relatively small vertebral bodies and supports the head which is both heavy and...
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Cervical spine injury

Cervical spine injuries can involve the cervical vertebral column, intervertebral discs and cervical spine ligaments, and/or cervical spinal cord. The cervical spine accounts for ~50% of all spinal injuries.  Epidemiology 5-10% of patients with blunt trauma have a cervical spine injury 1.  Pa...
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Chalk stick fracture

Chalk stick or carrot stick fractures are fractures of a fused spine, classically seen in ankylosing spondylitis. Terminology Some authors define the chalk stick fracture as a fracture through a Pagetoid long bone (see Paget disease). Pathology They usually occur through the disco-vertebral ...
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Chance fracture

Chance fractures, also referred as seatbelt fractures, are flexion-distraction type injuries of the spine that extend to involve all three spinal columns. These are unstable injuries and have a high association with intra-abdominal injuries. Pathology Mechanism They tend to occur from a flexi...
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Coup-contrecoup injury (brain)

A coup-contrecoup injury is a term applied to head injuries and most often cerebral contusions and traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage. It refers to the common pattern of injury whereby damage is located both at the site of impact (often less marked) and on the opposite side of the head to the po...
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Diaphragmatic rupture

Diaphragmatic rupture often results from blunt abdominal trauma. The mechanism of injury is typically a motor-vehicle accident. Epidemiology Given that the most common mechanism is motor vehicle collisions, it's perhaps unsurprising that young men are most frequently affected. Estimated incide...
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Disarticulation

The term disarticulation refers to the disconnection of all or part of a limb from the body, specifically through a joint. This is in contrast to amputation, which is the disconnection or removal of the structure through a bone.
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Elbow dislocation

Elbow dislocation is the second most common large joint dislocation in the adult population.  A dislocation with no fracture is simple whereas an accompanying fracture makes the dislocation complex. The most common fracture is a radial head fracture, although coronoid process fracture is also c...
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Epicondyle fracture

Epicondyle fractures are common injuries in children. They represent 10% of all elbow fractures in children and usually occur in boys after a fall on an outstretched arm. Medial epicondyle fractures comprise most of these injuries. They can usually be treated with splinting and early physiother...
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Eponymous fractures

There are numerous eponymous fractures which are named after the people who first described their existence 1: Bankart fracture: glenoid Barton fracture: wrist Bennett fracture: thumb Bosworth fracture: ankle Chance fracture: vertebral Charcot joint: foot Chopart fracture: foot Colles fr...
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Facet dislocation

Facet dislocation refers to anterior displacement of one vertebral body on another. Without a fracture, the only way anterior displacement can occur is by dislocation of the facets.  Facet dislocation can occur to varying degrees: subluxed facets perched facets locked facets The injury usua...
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Facial fractures

Facial fractures are commonly caused by blunt or penetrating trauma sustained during motor vehicle accidents, assaults, and falls. The facial bones are thin and relatively fragile making them susceptible to injury. Epidemiology Males are affected more commonly than females and facial fractures...
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Fall onto an outstretched hand

Fall onto an outstretched hand (FOOSH) is a common mechanism for wrist-forearm fractures, in certain cases with involvement of elbow structures, particularly in children. Some injuries that result from such a fall include: Colles fracture Scaphoid fracture Monteggia fracture-dislocation Gal...
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Fracture-a-la-signature (skull fracture)

Fracture-a-la-signature (or signature fracture) is another term used to described a depressed skull fracture.  Fracture-a-la-signature derives its name from forensic medicine because the size and shape of a depressed skull fracture may give information on the type of weapon used. It can be a si...
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Fracture-dislocations of the radius and ulna

Fracture-dislocations of the radius and ulna illustrate the importance of including the joint above and below the site of injury on radiographic assessment. Most forearm fractures (60%) include fracture of the distal radius as well as an ulnar fracture. In some cases, there is associated disloc...
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Fractures of the thumb

Fractures of the thumb are important due to huge impact the thumb has on the overall function of the hand, an understanding of the types of fractures that occur is important, as treatment varies with fracture type. Pathology Types Metacarpal fractures include: intra-articular fractures Benn...
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Fragility fracture

Fragility fractures are those that are the result of forces that would not fracture a normal bone. They can occur in the context of very low energy (i.e. minimal) trauma, or they may be no identifiable preceding trauma. There is overlap between fragility fractures and insufficiency fractures. P...
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Glass foreign bodies

Glass foreign bodies may be present if they are ingested, inserted or as a result of an injury.  Epidemiology The prevalence of glass foreign bodies in wounds from injury has been recorded at a rate of 1.5% in superficial (subcutaneous) wounds and 7.5% of deeper wounds 1.  Radiographic appear...
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Greenstick fracture

Greenstick fractures are incomplete fractures of long bones and are usually seen in young children, more commonly less than 10 years of age. They are commonly mid-diaphyseal, affecting the forearm and lower leg. They are distinct from torus fractures. Pathology Mechanism Greenstick fractures ...
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Haematomyelia

Haematomyelia refers to the presence of intramedullary haemorrhage or haematoma within the spinal cord. This is distinct from extramedullary haemorrhage, such as that seen in epidural haematomas. Although this can occur in the setting of trauma, the term is generally used to signify non-traumat...
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Haemopneumothorax

Haemopneumothorax is a term given when there is concurrent presence of a haemothorax and well as a pneumothorax. It is a variant of a hydropneumothorax.  Epidemiology Approximately 5% of patients with pneumothorax will have concomitant haemothorax 6 Pathology It is typically seen in the sett...
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Hangman fracture

Hangman fracture, also known as traumatic spondylolisthesis of the axis, is a fracture which involves the pars interarticularis of C2 on both sides, and is a result of hyperextension and distraction. Clinical presentation Post-traumatic neck pain after a high-velocity hyperextension injury is ...
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Imaging of gunshot injuries

Gunshot injuries often require imaging assessment, and this evaluation has both clinical relevance (assessment of organ damage, surgical planning and prognostication), and often also forensic implications. Epidemiology Incidence of gunshot injuries to the head is increasing in some countries, ...
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Large joint dislocation

Large joint dislocation is a not uncommon presentation to emergency rooms. Described in order of comonality: shoulder dislocation elbow dislocation posterior dislocation of the hip knee dislocation
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Liver trauma

The liver is one of the most frequently damaged organs in blunt trauma, and liver trauma is associated with a significant mortality rate. Epidemiology In blunt abdominal trauma, the liver is injured ~5% (range 1-10%) of the time 1,3. Clinical presentation Patients can present with right uppe...
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Locked facet joint

Locked facet joint is a type of facet joint dislocation that results from jumping of the inferior articular process over the superior articular process of the vertebra below and becomes locked in the position. It can be unilateral or bilateral. Radiographic features Plain radiograph The tip ...
Article

Longitudinal temporal bone fractures

Longitudinal temporal bone fractures are petrous temporal bone fractures that occur parallel to the long axis of the petrous temporal bone. Although more current classifications of the extent of temporal bone fractures focus on the integrity of the otic capsule rather than the fracture orientati...
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Longitudinal versus transverse petrous temporal bone fracture

Petrous temporal bone fractures are classically divided into longitudinal, transverse or mixed fracture patterns depending on the direction of fracture plane with respect to the long axis of the petrous temporal bone. Some features may aid in distinguishing them.                 Longitudinal pe...
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Lunate dislocation

Lunate dislocations are an uncommon traumatic wrist injury that require prompt management and surgical repair. The lunate is displaced and rotated volarly. The rest of the carpal bones are in a normal anatomic position in relation to the radius. These should not be confused with perilunate disl...
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Metaphyseal fracture

Metaphyseal fractures are fractures that involve the metaphysis of tubular bones. They may occur in paediatric or adult patients. Examples of metaphyseal fractures: adults surgical neck of humerus fracture distal radial fracture transtrochanteric fracture children distal radial buckle fra...
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Midcarpal dislocation

Midcarpal (central carpal) dislocation describes an injury where there is dislocation of the capitate from the lunate, and subluxation of the lunate from the radius. This term is somewhat confusing because some authors use "midcarpal dislocation" to refer generally to perilunate and lunate dislo...
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Named fractures

Named fractures are usually eponymous or occupational. The simplest way of spiting them up is by body area: spinal fractures facial fractures upper extremity fractures pelvic fractures lower extremity fractures
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Nightstick fracture

Nightstick fractures are isolated fractures of the ulna, typically transverse and located in the mid-diaphysis and usually resulting from a direct blow. It is a characteristic defensive fracture when the patient tries to ward off an overhead blow from an assailant (or local law enforcement offic...
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Occult fracture

Occult fractures are those that are not visible on imaging, most commonly plain radiographs and sometimes CT, either due to lack of displacement or limitations of the imaging study. There may be signs of a fracture without one actually being seen. MRI or nuclear medicine studies are sometimes re...
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Pathological fracture

Pathological fractures are fractures that occur in abnormal bone. Although the term can be used in the setting of a generalized metabolic bone disease, it is usually reserved for fractures through a focal abnormality. The abnormality may be malignant or non-malignant in nature. Pathological fra...
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Penetrating traumatic neck injury

Penetrating traumatic neck injury can be a potentially devastating injury due to the high density of crucial anatomical structures within the neck.  Epidemiology Young males are highly represented in patients with a traumatic neck injury. In one study, 11:1 ratio of males to females were ident...
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Pneumothorax in supine projection

A pneumothorax does not display classical signs when a patient is positioned supine for a chest radiograph. Instead, the pneumothorax may be demonstrated by looking for the following signs: relative lucency of the involved hemithorax deep, sometimes tongue-like, costophrenic sulcus: deep sulcu...
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Posterior shoulder dislocation

Posterior shoulder dislocations are far less common than anterior shoulder dislocations and can be difficult to identify if only AP projections are obtained. I high index of suspicion is helpful. Epidemiology Posterior shoulder dislocations account for only 2-4% of all shoulder dislocations (t...
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Pseudosubluxation of the cervical spine

Pseudosubluxation of the cervical spine is the physiological anterior displacement of C2 on C3 in children. It is common in children <7 years, and less often present in older children. Less often it is seen at C3 on C4. It is more pronounced in flexion and is of clinical significance as it can b...
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Pulled elbow syndrome

Pulled elbow (also known as nursemaid's elbow) is a subluxation of the radial head into the annular ligament, which usually spontaneously or easily reduces and rarely demonstrates abnormal radiographic features. It should be distinguished from dislocation of the radial head.  Epidemiology Pull...
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Rib fractures

Rib fractures are a common consequence of trauma and can cause life-threatening complications. Pathology The 4th-10th ribs are the most commonly fractured 1. Fractures of the 1st-3rd ribs are associated with high-energy trauma 3. When the rib is fractured twice, the term floating rib is used ...
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Scapular fracture

Scapula fractures are uncommon injuries, representing ~3% of all shoulder fractures. Pathology Mechanisms of injury requires high energy trauma (e.g. motor vehicle accidents account for 50% of scapular fractures) direct trauma to the shoulder region indirect trauma through falling on outstr...
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Semimembranosus tendon avulsion

Semimembranosus tendon avulsion is a specific type of avulsion injury that can occur in the knee.  Pathology Mechanism of injury External rotation and abduction of the flexed knee or valgus force applied to the tibia. Associated injuries include anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture and po...
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Spinal fractures

Spinal fractures are usually the result of significant trauma to a normally formed skeleton, or the result of trauma to a weakened spinal column. Examples include: Jefferson fracture: ring fracture of C1 hangman fracture: bilateral pedicle or pars fracture of C2 dens fracture flexion teardro...
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Subluxed facet joint

Subluxed facet joint is the mildest form of facet dislocation in which the ligamentous injury leads to partial uncovering of facet joint (c.f. complete uncovering in perched facet). This results in mild anterior displacement of one vertebral body on another (anterolisthesis).
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Talar dislocation

There are many types of talar dislocation given its multiple articulations: tibiotalar dislocation subtalar dislocation total talar dislocation talonavicular dislocation ​Chopart fracture-dislocation
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Talar fractures

Talar fractures are an uncommon injury, accounting for <5% of all foot fractures. Recognition of the unique talar anatomy is important for correct diagnosis. Pathology Location talar head fractures talar neck fractures talar body fractures talar dome osteochondral fracture posterior talar...
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Tension pneumothorax

Tension pneumothoraces occur when intrapleural air accumulates progressively in such a way as to exert positive pressure on mediastinal and intrathoracic structures. It is a life-threatening occurrence requiring rapid recognition and treatment is required if a cardiorespiratory arrest is to be a...
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Trauma in pregnancy

Trauma is a leading cause of mortality in pregnancy. Pregnancy increases the incidence and severity of abdominal trauma in females.  Epidemiology Trauma affects up to 7% of pregnancies, and the incidence of pregnancy in level 1 trauma patients is estimated to be ~2% 1.  Pathology Aetiology ...
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Traumatic spinal cord injury

Traumatic spinal cord injury can manifest as a wide variety of clinical syndromes resulting from damage to the spinal cord or its surrounding structures. It can result from minor injury if the spine is weakened from disease such as ankylosing spondylitis or if there is pre-existing spinal stenos...
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Unilateral facet dislocation

Unilateral facet dislocation is a relatively stable type of facet dislocation. Pathology Mechanism Flexion/distraction associated with rotation. The inferior articular facet of vertebral above moves over the superior facet of the vertebral below and becomes locked. It usually affects C4-C5 or...

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