One hundred and eleven patients with signs and symptoms of carpal scaphoid injury, but with no fracture visible on X-ray, underwent bone scintigraphy of the wrists. The first 42 patients were re-X-rayed 10 days after injury: bone scanning had identified all fractures confirmed on this X-ray; there were no false negative bone scans. Sixty-seven patients (60%) did not have increased focal uptake over the scaphoid or distal radius, and were mobilised immediately. None of these had a fracture at follow up. Twenty-nine patients with increased uptake over the scaphoid area (26%) remained in plaster of Paris for 6 weeks. All of these had clinical signs of a scaphoid injury. Bone scanning is a practical investigation for all X-ray-negative potential scaphoid injuries, and is acceptable to patient and clinician. In the presence of a normal scan, the practice of re-X-raying patients 10 days after injury may be abandoned.
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