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What is an X-ray? 

X-ray, or a radiography, is a painless test used to take pictures of your child’s insides using a small amount of radiation. X-rays can help doctors find causes for pain and disease, assess injuries and disorders, and locate foreign objects, such as items that your child may have swallowed.  

What does an X-ray look, sound, and feel like? 

Look: Our X-ray camera, or tube as we call it, is attached to the ceiling in tracks (much like train tracks) so it can move all over the room. It has a light on the bottom so we can see exactly what is going to be in the picture.  

Sound: The X-ray machine is not as loud as some other machines, but it does move and vibrate a little and makes a beeping sound when taking the picture.  

Feel: X-rays are just like getting your picture taken…only the pictures are of your insides. As such, they do not hurt before, during, or after the exam.  

How do you prepare for an X-ray? 

You will receive specific instructions before your child’s appointment. Typically, there is no special preparation needed for this test, but here are a few tips to help prepare for the exam and answers to some frequently asked questions: 

  • Take time to talk to your child and explain the test. Reassure them they’ll be safe and comfortable. For preschoolers, it’s best to discuss the day of the scan; for school-aged children, it’s best to discuss two to three days before; and for adolescents, it's best to discuss one to two weeks before. 
  • Bring a comfort item, such as a stuffed animal, toy or blanket to use during waiting times or in the imaging room.  
  • Dress your child in comfortable clothing. 
  • Can my child eat and drink before their X-ray? Yes, you can eat and drink normally for an X-ray.  
  • Can my child take their regular medication? Yes, your child can take their regular medication before an X-ray. 
  • What happens if my child needs X-ray contrast? Contrast is not commonly used for this type of imaging.  
  • Do I need an appointment to have an X-ray? Most types of X-ray exams don't require an appointment but making an appointment can make your visit more efficient. 
  • What about colonic transit studies? With this exam, we have your child swallow a capsule with 24 small rings. Then, we take abdominal X-rays at timed intervals. These exams must be scheduled in advance and must start on Mondays. If one of the timed intervals is missed, your child will have to restart the process. 

What should I expect during the X-ray?

It’s natural for your child to be a little nervous but knowing what to expect during an X-ray can help. Here’s what your child can expect during the exam: 

  • After you check in for the X-ray, you will be greeted by a technologist who will escort you to the X-ray room. 
  • Patients who can stand are typically encouraged to do so and we will help you move into place for the pictures. The most important thing is to stay still once you are in place so the technologist can take the picture.  
  • One parent may be in the room during the exam to help your child feel more comfortable. After the exam, a special doctor called a radiologist will look at the pictures and let your child's doctor know what they found. Your child’s doctor will let you know this information once they have it.  
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