Diagnostic Radiation (X-Ray)

What is Diagnostic Radiography (x-ray)?

Radiography, more often referred to as x-ray, was discovered more than a century ago. It is the most frequently used type of medical imaging.  X-rays are a kind of invisible electro-magnetic radiation, and create no sensation when they pass through the body.   The images are created when the x-ray passes through bone and tissues at different intensities, which is directly related to how dense the tissue or bone is.  The image is then captured on a plate that produces the image.

When Would I Need An X-Ray?

X-rays are most often used to help physicians identify and treat fractures.  An image taken after the physician has treated the injury can verify that the fracture has been properly re-aligned and stabilized.  Sometimes x-rays are used to observe internal organs.  In this case, a contrast medium, or dye may be used.  The medium is dense and will make any structure it enters appear lighter or white on the image.

How Can I Prepare My Child For The Procedure?

There is no special preparation required for most diagnostic radiographs.  When you arrive, you may be asked to change your child into a gown for the examination.  You will also need to remove jewelry, hair clips, eyeglasses, or any other metal object that could affect the image.

What Can My Child And I Expect To Experience?

The technologist will position the patient on the exam table, depending on the view needed.  Pillows or sandbags might be used to help hold the patient in the proper position.  The technologist will then go into an adjacent room and ask your child to hold very still for the few moments while the image is taken.  Your child may then be repositioned to take another x-ray from a different view.  Examination of some internal organ structures also requires multiple images, from different angles.
There is no pain associated with having an x-ray taken.  Sometimes, however, your child may be asked to hold an uncomfortable position for the required image, but that will last only for a short time.
If a contrast medium is needed and given orally, your child may find the taste mildly unpleasant. Occasionally, a child can develop itching and hives, which can be relieved with medication.  If your child becomes light-headed or experiences difficulty breathing, you should notify the technologist or nurse, as it may indicate a more severe allergic reaction.

How Do I Find Out The Results Of The Test?

After the images are taken, you will be asked to wait until the technologist determines that the images are of high enough quality for one of our radiologists to read.  Our radiologist will analyze the image and send a report to your ordering physician.  You can learn of the results from your ordering physician.
Intermountain Pediatric Imaging is dedicated to minimizing radiation exposure.  We use techniques that result in the lowest doses possible for your child.  For more information about exposure to radiation, ask your doctor or consult the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website or the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging website.
This clinic is part of the Intermountain Medical Group, which is owned and operated by Intermountain Healthcare.

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