An X-ray is a quick, painless test that uses small amounts of radiation to produce pictures of structures inside the body. X-rays are especially useful for looking at broken bones or pneumonia.
X-rays help doctors find causes of pain and disease, assess injuries and disorders, and locate foreign objects (like items a child swallows).
- Chest X-ray: For conditions such as pneumonia, airway disease, or trauma to blood vessels or lungs
- Abdominal X-ray: For severe pain in the abdomen or lower back, stomach, constipation, or blockages
- Pelvic X-ray: To detect tumors or pelvic bone disease
- Bone X-ray: To diagnose fractures, dislocations, infections and unusual growths or tumors, and to guide surgeries like spinal repair
- Skull X-ray: For fractures, infections, sinus diseases, ventricular shunts (procedures that remove excess fluid from the brain) and other conditions
- Take time to talk with your child and explain the test.
- Reassure your child that they’ll be safe, comfortable and won’t feel any pain.
- You may want to bring a comfort item like a stuffed animal, toy or blanket.
- Your child should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
If you’re pregnant, you need to avoid X-rays, so please bring another adult to the hospital to support your child. Siblings and other children are not allowed in the exam room during the test, so please make arrangements for someone to stay with them.
Your child may feel nervous to get an X-ray, so it can help to know what to expect. Here’s what the procedure generally looks like:
- Please arrive 30 minutes before your child’s scheduled X-ray.
- Bring a list of your child’s medicines and insurance card.
- We’ll give your child an identification bracelet to ensure they get the right test.
- A radiology technologist specialized in children talks with you and your child about the procedure and answers any questions.
- If you’re accompanying your child, you’ll need to put on a lead apron to protect from X-rays.
- We escort you and your child to the X-ray room.
- The technologist positions your child on the X-ray table and activates the X-ray machine.
- The X-ray quickly records an electronic image while your child lies very still.
- We may ask your child to lie on their side or stand up for more images.
- The exam is usually finished within 15 minutes, and the exposure to radiation usually lasts less than a second. We X-ray only the area we’re studying to avoid exposure to other areas of the body.
- This is a painless test.
Your child can usually return to normal activities unless their doctor recommends otherwise.