Plain Radiographic Evaluation of Orthopedic Infection: The Initial Step in Imaging

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Musculoskeletal complaints are ubiquitous in healthcare, with orthopedic infection suspected in a subset of cases. Plain radiographic evaluation is a vital tool for first-line evaluation in this setting. Important findings, including soft tissue and osseous abnormalities, can aid in timely and accurate diagnosis. Even nondiagnostic radiographs prove useful, illustrating the osseous anatomy that will likely not be easily defined on magnetic resonance imaging or nuclear medicine studies. Our goal is to review common findings seen on plain radiography for musculoskeletal infection.

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