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Broken Arm (cont.)

Broken Arm Diagnosis

The initial evaluation by any physician, in the office or in the emergency department, begins with a thorough history and physical exam. By finding out the details of the accident, the doctor is able to determine what damage was done based on the mechanism of the trauma.

After taking a history, the physician will do a complete physical exam with special focus on the painful areas. The doctor is looking for signs of a fracture (such as swelling or deformity) and checking for possible nerve or blood vessel damage.

X-rays are typically the test used to assess for broken bones. At least two views of the arm are taken. Initially, most broken bones will have an apparent fracture or other abnormality on the X-ray. Some fractures are not always visible on the first set of X-rays. In those instances, a CT scan or MRI may be performed immediately for further evaluation, or follow-up X-rays may be obtained at a later date.

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