An X-ray is a picture of the inside of your child’s body, and is the most frequently used form of medical imaging. X-rays are painless, fast and easy to obtain. At CHOC, your child will receive a high-quality and rapid X-ray examination using the lowest radiation dose possible.
Child chest x-ray

What is an X-ray?

An X-ray can take still pictures of the bones and organs in the body. An X-ray is an actual form of energy that passes through the body on to a recording plate that creates the image. The procedure is painless but does produce a small amount of radiation. The radiologist looks at the pictures and uses them to help the doctor diagnose problems.

When is an X-ray needed?

X-rays help physicians in the diagnosis and assessment of many conditions, including:

Can an X-ray harm my child?

An X-ray is a safe, noninvasive procedure used to diagnose problems inside a patient’s body. The amount of radiation used in most examinations is very small. CHOC uses the minimum amount of radiation to obtain the necessary images.

How is an X-ray performed?

  • The patient removes any clothing or jewelry that may obstruct the imaged body area.
  • Then, child may sit, stand or lay between the X-ray machine and the recording plate for the examination.
  • Next, a technologist takes an X-ray with a large camera.
  • Meanwhile, the X-ray camera may come very close to the child to take a picture but it will not touch. As a result, it is important for the child to remain still for each image taken.

How should I prepare my child?

There is no special preparation required for most X-rays. Therefore, your child can eat and drink as usual unless otherwise specified.

It is helpful to:

  • Give your child a simple explanation on why they need an X-ray.
  • Bring your child’s favorite book, toy or comforting object to have while you wait.
  • If your child is feeling very anxious about the X-ray, our child life specialists can help ease any fears. Please let us know at the time of making the appointment if you think your child will need a child life specialist.

Will my child feel anything?

There is no pain associated with having an X-ray. Your child may be in an uncomfortable position for a very short time, depending on the imaging area.

What are the risks?

Children are more sensitive to radiation exposure than adults. For this reason, CHOC calibrates equipment to deliver the lowest possible doses. We are nationally accredited by the American College of Radiology and follow all guidelines in the Image Gently campaign.

What happens after the exam?

Your child will be ready to go home or see the doctor if you have an appointment scheduled.

How do I learn the results?

The radiologist will provide a report to the doctor who ordered your child’s X-ray. After, the doctor will discuss the results with you.

Why Choose CHOC?

ACR Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence

  • CHOC received the Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence® (DICOE) by the American College of Radiology (ACR) for best-quality imaging practices and diagnostic care.
  • CHOC uses only board-certified pediatric radiologists and specially trained pediatric radiology technologists, nurses and child life specialists.
  • All radiology staff undergo age-specific training annually to learn how to work and communicate with children of varying ages.
  • We are only one of a few medical centers in the country to have child life specialists working in a dedicated pediatric radiology and imaging department.