Loving Kiss From A Big Brother

Child and Adolescent Health Service

Services A – Z


Princess Margaret Hospital

Diagnostic Imaging

Image of Emergency X-ray Room - Click to Enlarge

What Is an X-ray?

When Do I Get The Results?

What is an X-ray?

An x-ray is a picture taken of the inside of the body by a machine that sends out rays of radiation energy. When these rays pass through skin and muscle they are blocked by the bones and teeth, creating shadow effects. These shadows are captured and displayed on a computer screen.

The different parts of your child's body have different body tissues, which vary in their absorption of the x-rays. This means bones, soft tissues and other internal features can be seen on the screen in varying shades of grey.

To Top

What Do I Do Before the Test?

Most x-ray examinations do not require any preparation. Articles of clothing may have to be removed if they contain metal or plastic that may show up on the x–ray.

Most radiographs require the child to stay still briefly during the x-ray exposure.

For all examinations a family member or carer is encouraged to stay with the child for their comfort. The actual examination length ranges from five to fifteen minutes.

To Top

How are the Pictures Taken?

Chest x-ray

A chest x-ray will generally involve taking two pictures. The child will be imaged laying down, sitting or standing if possible.

Abdominal x-ray

This generally involves two pictures with the child lying on an x-ray table.

X-rays of extremities (forearm, elbow, knee, ankle, etc)

This will require pictures of the relevant area in two or more positions, depending on the external indications of the problem.

Skull x-rays

These are taken while the child lies on an x-ray table. Three different views are usually taken.

Skeletal survey

This involves multiple x-rays of various areas of the body therefore the actual examination length of this procedure ranges from twenty minutes to an hour.

To Top

When Do I Get the Results?

If your child is seen in a clinic or is on a ward the films are seen by the referring doctor and a paediatric radiologist. If your child has been sent here by the doctor the radiologist sends a report back to the doctor.

To Top

All contents copyright Government of Western Australia. All rights reserved