CT Scanning or Computerised Tomography uses electro-magnetic radiation to produce images of the shoulder. It presents the information in a different way to X-rays and Ultrasound. All of these test may be helpful in reaching a diagnosis.

How it works

A Computer program is able to produce pictures which are like slices through the shoulder in different planes, horizontal, vertical or oblique. The software also allows the production of 3 Dimensional images of the bone structure of the shoulder. The images may be rotated to view from different directions. The ball and socket components of the shoulder may be separated and viewed individually. The scan settings may be adjusted to provide information specific to bone or soft tissue components of the shoulder.


CT Scans are helpful in assessing:

  • Fractures
  • Dislocations
  • Arthritic Conditions
  • Planning of Shoulder Replacement Surgery
  • Sterno-Clavicular Joint Problems


CT Scanning is quite quick. You will be lying on your back. Your bed will slowly pass through a doughnut like structure. You may hear some mechanical noises and notice some flashing lights as you pass through the machine. You just need to lie still and relax.

Risks and Complications

As with X-rays, CT Scans require a small radiation dose. However the dose is small and the test is rarely required to be repeated. It is a small risk in the context of making a recovery. Some patients find the CT machinery a limiting but the radiology staff will help you.

Shoulder CT Scan