Finger - Lateral

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Radiographic Positioning

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Name of projection Finger - Lateral
Area Covered Distal, middle and proximal phalanges and head of adjoining metacarpal
Pathology shown Fracture, dislocation, foreign body, infection, tumour, arthritis
Radiographic Anatomy Hand Radiographic Anatomy
IR Size & Orientation 18 x 24cm
Landscape, divided for multiple finger images, use lead masking for unused area
Film / Screen Combination Detail
(CR and DR as recommended by manufacturer)
Bucky / Grid No
Filter No
Exposure 50 kVp
2 mAs
Central Ray Directed to the proximal interphalangeal joint
Perpendicular to the IR
Collimation Centre: Proximal interphalangeal joint
Shutter A: From the distal phalanx to the head of the adjoining metacarpal
Shutter B: To include soft tissues
Markers Distal and Lateral
Marker orientation AP
Shielding Gonadal (check your department's policy guidelines)
Respiration Not applicable
  • Patient seated at end of table
  • Demonstrate position to patient
  • Ask patient to extend digit
  • Flex other digits
  • Elevate elbow and support to get digit flat
  • Rotate digit into lateral positon
    • 2nd digit may require medial hand rotation
    • 3rd to 5th digit may require lateral hand rotation
  • Proximal interphalangeal joint of affected digit in centre
  • May require positioning aides (eg. sponge) to support digit and prevent motion

  • Entire digit in true lateral position demonstrated by
    • Anterior surfaces of the middle and proximal phalanges will be concave
    • Posterior aspect slightly convex
    • No rotation of phalanges
    • Finger nail, if visualised, will be in profile
  • Phalanges are not foreshortened
  • Interphalangeal joint spaces open
  • No obstruction of proximal phalanx or metacarpophalangeal joint by adjacent digits
Area Covered
  • Distal, middle amd proximal phalanges of affected digit and its adjoining metacarpal head
  • From the distal phalanx to the metacarpal head and soft tissues
  • Bony trabecular patterns and cortical outlines are sharply defined
  • Soft tissues are visualised
Special Notes