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Pelvis x-ray

A pelvis x-ray is a picture of the bones surrounding the hip area. The pelvis connects the legs to the body.

Alternative Names

X-ray - pelvis

How the test is performed

The test is performed in a radiology department or in the health care provider's office by an x-ray technician. You will be asked to lie down on the table. The pictures are then taken, with the body repositioned to provide different views.

How to prepare for the test

Inform the health care provider if you are pregnant. Remove all jewelry. You will wear a hospital gown.

How the test will feel

There is no discomfort except possibly from positioning the body.

Why the test is performed

The x-ray is used to detect fractures , tumors, or degenerative conditions of bones in the hips, pelvis, and upper legs.

What abnormal results mean

Abnormal results may suggest:

  • Pelvic fractures
  • Arthritis of the hip joint
  • Tumors of the bones of the pelvis
  • Sacroiliitis (inflammation of the area where the sacrum joins the ilium bone)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (abnormal stiffness of the spine and joint)

What the risks are

There is low radiation exposure. However, pregnant women and children are more sensitive to the risks of x-rays.

References

Rogers LF, Taljanovic MS, Boles CA. Skeletal trauma. In: Grainger RC, Allison D, Adam, Dixon AK, eds. Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology. 5th ed. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 46.

Shah A, Busconi B. Hip, pelvis, and thigh: Hip and pelvis. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr, Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez’s Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 21, section A.

Updated: 6/4/2011

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.


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