ARRS logoWhen the bony structure of the pelvis is split or divided, then it is medically termed as a pelvic fracture. To detect a pelvic fracture, the doctor may consult a computed tomography (CT) scan or standard radiography (X-rays). However, a recent study performed at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA, suggests that CT scan is superior to X-rays, for the detection of pelvic fractures. This is because, CT scanning combines, special X-ray equipment with sophisticated computers, to produce multiple images of the body’s inside .

The study comprised of 132 patients with pelvic fractures. The study authors assayed these patients, using standard X-rays having special views to detect pelvic fractures and CT. According to the results, pelvic X-rays, especially special views, probably failed to analyze 48 percent of pelvic injuries. It also failed to add any significant value to patient care.

Zulfiqar Ali, MD, lead author of the study, explained, “Most orthopedic surgeons order special, additional X-ray views after a CT scan has been performed and a diagnosis confirmed. We recommend that these additional views be eliminated since pelvic CT, with multi-planar and three dimensional reconstructed images, is sufficient for complete evaluation of suspected pelvic injuries.”

Ali further explained that, eliminating these extra pelvic X-rays, altogether in cases of suspected pelvic injury, can reduce the overall radiation dose to patients. This further helps, reduce patient discomfort and pain by eliminating unnecessary movements in an injured patient. It also, helps reduce cost and ultimately aids in providing faster service to patients.

The study was presented at the ARRS 2010 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.