Computed tomography (CT) of the shoulder joint


Often, doing ordinary things, you can injure your hand. After a trip to the doctor is a choice — how you can clarify your diagnosis? One such method is computer tomography.

What is the principle of this method of research?

Computer tomography using x-rays, makes layered images of the body or a certain area (in this case, a CT scan of the shoulder joint), and then sends the captured images to a Central computer where they are processed and can be used by a physician for diagnosis. By CT visualize organs in the 3D view, which gives you more informative.

The shoulder joint has a complex structure. He’s very mobile, as it has a spherical shape, but has a large difference in area of the articular surfaces between the head joint and scapular depression. It is compensated by other structures: articular lip, increasing the surface area of contact, muscles, ligaments, tendons, capsule that strengthen the joint on the outside. But the compensation is often not enough, as the head of the joint is not sufficiently anchored in the glenoid fossa, causing the shoulder joint is very susceptible to traumatic complications: dislocations, ruptures of the capsule, entrapment of the nerves that occur in this area, as well as other pathologies.

If the discomfort is felt during the movements, the sounds of a different nature (friction, cracking), pain should undergo CT scan of the shoulder joint, as this may indicate a number of diseases. Indications for study are:

  • necrosis of the humeral head;
  • suspected arthritis, rheumatism:
  • various traumatic injuries of the joints and its surrounding structures (dislocations, subluxations of the joint, fractures, cracks, breaks capsules);
  • suspected neoplastic disease;
  • suspected disorders of blood vessels (angiography is often used for verbosity);
  • to control the coalescence of fractures;
  • before operational intervention;
  • the presence of any extraneous sounds in the joint during its operation;
  • various osteochondropathy;
  • bursitis;
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  • the presence of exudate (fluid) in the joints;
  • for clarification or confirmation of the diagnosis already;
  • for the control treatment.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this procedure?

Computed tomography of the easy, relatively safe method of investigation. CT scan of the shoulder joint locally irradiates the body, unlike x-ray method that reduces the radiation exposure. The procedure is painless, takes very little time. She is very good at detecting pathology of the bony structures, blood vessels and nerves, as the x-ray emission qualitatively identifies the structure with high density.

But there are some drawbacks. CT has a number of contraindications, mentioned above. Also, not every device will be able to withstand the weight of a person over 100 lbs. And one of the most significant disadvantages of low — informative in the elucidation of the pathology of soft tissues, cartilage and ligaments, as they have low density. Therefore, it is not always advisable to carry out a CT scan of the shoulder joint.

For this there is MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which is based on electromagnetic radiation and is very good at detecting pathological changes in soft tissues. But it has one significant disadvantage – high price.

Other research methods are shoulder ultrasound and arthroscopy (the insertion of an endoscope into the joint cavity) and fluoroscopy.

In the end, we can say that a CT scan of the shoulder joint has a high diagnostic value. The results can use doctors such specialties: trauma, vascular surgeons, oncologists, neurologists. However, to use this method you need to specify a specialist, so no additional tests imaging may be insufficiently informative or even not to carry diagnostic value.