It is vitally important to the work carried out by cast technicians that we can view the radiographic evidence of the injury we are putting into a cast. Occasionally we will see an instruction that calls for a well-moulded cast. It should not require saying that every cast should be well moulded but without access to X-ray images, we are unlikely to be able to feel enough through the cast or see enough clinically, to be able to mould a cast adequately.
The amount of instruction that cast technicians can obtain for X-ray image interpretation is likely to be limited by the tempo and amount of the work we must complete. A busy fracture clinic is no place to stop and consult a radiologist about what we can see on an X-ray image. Unusually, there are several online courses of instruction in basic radiographic interpretation.
The best of these courses is undertaken completely online. The image quality and the example galleries are beautifully produced and the navigation system is very easy to work. The course is accredited by the Royal College of Radiologists and one can study any section which covers their needs.
The relevance of the many tutorial images to our work is likely to be restricted to the appendicular skeleton, which is available as a separate course, culminating in 60 questions with the pass mark set at 85%. Scores of 90 and 95% earn a merit and a distinction respectively.
The course provides additional material to the appendicular skeleton radiographs. There is a section on Musculoskeletal X-ray - General Principles including bone anatomy, joint anatomy, systematic approach and viewing principles. Another section details the basics of X-ray physics, which is complementary to knowledge of X-ray interpretation and covers X-ray production, X-ray beam, X-ray densities and X-ray safety.
The final section discusses an introduction to the subject of Trauma X-ray. The subjects covered include fracture description, comminuted fractures, fracture displacement, pathological fractures, fracture types, dislocation injuries, fracture complications, fracture mimics and foreign bodies.
The upper limb tutorial covers the clavicle, acromioclavicular joint, glenohumeral joint, scapula, humerus, elbow, radius and ulna, wrist, hands and fingers. The lower limb tutorial covers hip fractures and dislocations, femoral shaft, knee joint, tibia and fibula, ankle joint, calcaneus and foot.
Without demonstrating the course material and the website navigation, it is impossible to convey just how good this course material is. There are two galleries of upper limb cases and two galleries of lower limb cases which are provided as additional material to the course tutorials. All of the images are those of adolescents or adults. A separate paediatric course will become available in the future.
The website is administered by a consultant radiologist and it is an exemplar of what can be done with sufficient knowledge and interest. The course is of a very high standard and the certificate (endorsed by the Royal College of Radiologists) and the 5 CPD points will assist any cast technician to improve their clinical practice. Follow the link here to undertake the Radiology Interpretation Masterclass. The examination is made available for a small fee. Five attempts are permitted and the highest mark is appended to the certificate.