Routine radiological examination of the acute shoulder has been unchanged in radiology departments for many years. At UCLH (University College London Hospitals, UK) this examination consists of two projections, an AP (antero-posterior) and an LS (lateral scapula). Following a review of the related literature and the possible advantages of an axial style projection, a study was performed to evaluate whether a new projection named modified trauma axial (MTA) shoulder projection could replace the existing LS projection in the routine examination of the acute shoulder. A retrospective analysis of 244 acute shoulder examinations over a 5-month period was performed. AP, LS and MTA projections were taken with paired AP and LS, and AP and MTA radiographs were reported separately. 97 traumatic abnormalities were reported using AP and MTA whilst only 64 abnormalities were reported using AP and LS views. The MTA projection demonstrated it was significant for evaluating articular surfaces of the humeral head and glenoid, defects in the humeral head, greater tuberosity fractures, glenoid fractures and fractures of the acromion. It was established that if the LS projection was replaced with the MTA view no traumatic pathologies would have been overlooked and in fact there was a 52% increase in traumatic abnormalities detected. Use of a chi-squared test demonstrated a highly significant difference in the number of traumatic abnormalities detected between the two pairs of projection combinations (p = 0.0004). Based on this study and the examined literature the routine examination of the acutely injured shoulder is recommended to include the AP and MTA projections only.