Pelvis x-ray

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A pelvis x-ray is a picture of the bones around both the hips. The pelvis connects the legs to the body.

Alternative Names

X-ray - pelvis

How the Test is Performed

The test is done in a radiology department or in the health care provider's office by an x-ray technician.

You will lie down on the table. The pictures are then taken. You will change your body to other positions to provide different views.

How to Prepare for the Test

Tell the provider if you are pregnant. Remove all jewelry. You will wear a hospital gown.

How the Test will Feel

The x-rays are painless. Changing position may cause discomfort.

Why the Test is Performed

The x-ray is used to look for:

  • Fractures
  • Tumors
  • Degenerative conditions of bones in the hips, pelvis, and upper legs

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results may suggest:

  • Pelvic fractures
  • Arthritis of the hip joint
  • Tumors of the bones of the pelvis
  • Sacroiliitis (inflammation of the area where the sacrum joins the ilium bone)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (abnormal stiffness of the spine and joint)


Children and the fetuses of pregnant women are more sensitive to the risks of the x-ray. A protective shield may be worn over areas not being scanned.


Mettler FA. Skeletal system. In: Mettler FA, ed. Essentials of Radiology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 8.

Telhan R, Kelly BT, Moley PJ. Hip and pelvis overuse syndromes. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 85.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 5/9/2015
  • C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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