Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I have an unstable shoulder joint after a bad fall. The doctor thinks a special CT scan will help diagnose the exact problem. What can this tell that can't be seen by a regular X-ray?


A special type of computed tomography (CT), called CT osteo-absorptio-metry (CTOAM) measures the density (thickness) of bone. These measurements can be used to map the distribution of density in various layers of bone. When linked with a special computer program, CTOAM can give the doctor a 3-dimensional view of the joint.

These density measures show where the joint carries the load. Researchers are looking for baseline measures for different age groups. It can be used to follow-up patients after surgery. It can also show early changes in bone density before there are any clinical signs.

Christoph Udo Schulz, MD, et al. Anterior Shoulder Instability Modifies Glenoid Subchondral Bone Density. In Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research. June 2004. Vol. 423. Pp. 259-263.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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