Pediatric X-ray

What is an X-ray ?

Doctors use X-rays, also called “films,” more than any other form of imaging. Using X-rays we can create a still, two-dimensional image of a child’s bones, lungs and other organs. X-rays are useful in diagnosing conditions such as fractured bones, pneumonia, bowel obstruction, and in locating foreign objects in the body. Since X-rays do not image most soft tissues in the body well, doctors use other imaging tests such as MRI and ultrasound to diagnose conditions that affect soft tissue organs and structures.

To create an X-ray image we use X-rays—invisible beams of energy that pass through the body. We use an X-ray machine that directs the rays at the part of the body to be examined. Some of the X-rays are absorbed or scattered by the internal structures, and the remaining X-ray pattern is transmitted to a detector, creating an image of the inside of the body part being examined. Bones contain calcium, a mineral that absorbs X-rays, so these show up as white on the image.

How should I help my child get ready for the test?

No special preparation is needed for an X-ray. Your child may be asked to change into a gown when you arrive at the X-ray site.

What will happen during the test?

Depending on the part of the body to be examined we will ask your child to lie on the X-ray table in a specific position. We will cover other parts of his/her body with a lead apron to protect it from unnecessary exposure to radiation.

We may ask your child to be very still during the several seconds during which we make the image, and we make take more than one image of the part of the body being evaluated.

How can I help my child feel comfortable during the test?

You can remain with your child in the imaging area during the exam to offer comfort and reassurance and will be asked to wear a lead apron to protect you from unnecessary exposure to radiation. We can also arrange to have a child life specialist at your child's appointment to help your child better cope with the stress of the procedure.

Are there any risks?

Although this is an X-ray based exam, your child will be exposed to minimal doses of diagnostic radiation.

After the test

A radiologist will analyze the X-ray images and will share the results with the doctor who requested the exam. Your child’s doctor will then discuss the results with you. In some cases the radiologist may discuss the results with you at the conclusion of the examination.