X-ray

Health care professionals perform x-rays for many reasons, including finding tumors and bone injuries.

What will happen during my child’s x-ray?

Your child will need to remove any clothing, jewelry, or hair braids that might interfere with the x-ray. Your child will receive a gown to wear if he or she must remove clothing.

Your child may lie on a table. Some X-rays are performed with the child in a sitting or standing position. Body parts that are not being examined may be covered with a lead apron to shield them from x-rays. Our Radiology team strives to keep the dose from x-rays as low as possible while producing the best image.

Your child may not be able to hold still long enough for the technologist to get the best possible images. If not, your child may need to be immobilized. Immobilization means that your child’s movement will be limited. The immobilization does not harm your child. We will do everything possible to reassure your child during the exam. Learn more about immobilization.

When your child is ready, the technologist will step behind a protective window and take one or more images. Sometimes, several x-rays are taken to get views of the same body part at different angles, such as the front and side view. The x-ray should only take a few minutes.

What will happen after the x-ray?

Your doctor will get the results of the x-ray within 24 hours and will share the results with you and your family.

Do I need to prepare my child for an x-ray

In most cases, no special preparations are necessary before an x-ray.

What are x-rays?

X-rays are made by using external radiation to produce images of the body, its organs, and other internal structures for diagnostic purposes. X-rays pass through body structures onto specially-treated plates (similar to camera film) and a "negative" type picture is made (the more solid a structure is, the whiter it appears on the film).

When the body undergoes x-rays, different parts of the body allow varying amounts of the x-ray beams to pass through. The soft tissues in the body (such as blood, skin, fat, and muscle) allow most of the x-ray to pass through and appear dark gray on the film. A bone, which is more dense than the soft tissues, allows few of the x-rays to pass through and appears white on the x-ray. At a break in a bone, the x-ray beam passes through the broken area and appears as a dark line in the white bone.

How are x-rays performed?

X-rays can be performed on an outpatient basis, or as part of inpatient care. Although each hospital may have specific protocols in place, generally, an x-ray procedure follows this process:

  • The patient will be asked to remove any clothing or jewelry which might interfere with the exposure of the body area to be examined. The patient will be given a gown to wear if clothing must be removed.
  • The patient is positioned on an x-ray table that carefully positions the part of the body that is to be x-rayed. Some examinations may be performed with the patient in a sitting or standing position.
  • Body parts not being imaged may be covered with a lead apron (shield) to avoid exposure to the x-rays.
  • The x-ray beam is then focused on the area to be imaged.
  • The patient must be very still or the image will be blurred.
  • The technologist steps behind a protective window and the image is taken.
  • Sometimes, various x-rays may have to be taken at different angles, such as the front and side view during a chest x-ray.