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Childrens Services

X-ray for children

What is an x-ray?Show [+]Hide [-]

When your child has an x-ray, a special picture is taken. It is like a photograph, but it shows the doctor what is happening inside your child's body. 

X-rays can show up the bones in the arms, legs, backbone and even the skull. Children can also have one of their chest and tummy.

PreparationShow [+]Hide [-]

The radiographer will position your child precisely for each picture. 

It is very important that they do not move before or whilst the film is taken. Otherwise the picture may be blurred or crooked. The best way you can help is to be relaxed and calm, to talk to your child and help hold them still.

It is a good idea to let them bring a favourite toy, book or comforter to keep them as happy as possible.

Are there any risks?Show [+]Hide [-]

The image is made by giving your child a very small dose of x-rays.

What are the benefits?Show [+]Hide [-]

The pictures help the doctors diagnose your child’s problem to give the right treatment.

How long will it take?Show [+]Hide [-]

Positioning your child for a simple x-ray will take only a minute or two, then 5-10 minutes to process and check. More complicated examinations covering several different areas may take 30-40 minutes.

Will it hurt?Show [+]Hide [-]

No, x-rays cannot be seen or felt.

What happens afterwards?Show [+]Hide [-]

The radiographer will check the x-ray images before you leave, to ensure they are technically correct, and that no further views are needed.

Are there any side effects?Show [+]Hide [-]

The doctor who requests the x-ray will only do so because the benefit to your child is much greater than not having the very small dose of x-rays.

ResultsShow [+]Hide [-]

If your child has been sent by your GP the results of this examination will be sent to your doctor the next 7-10 days.

If your child has been sent by a hospital doctor, the result will be sent to your child's hospital doctor in the next 7-10 days and s/he will contact you either by appointment or letter.

More informationShow [+]Hide [-]

You can get more details about x-rays from the NHS Choices website.

You can also download a PDF leaflet to help explain x-rays to your child.


Please ring the appropriate hospital department, as below, that your child is attending, from 9.00am - 5.00pm, Monday - Friday:

  • Royal Victoria Infirmary: tel 0191 282 4429: Liz Hunter / Maryline Forraz/ Judith Hobson
  • Freeman Hospital: tel 0191 282 6427: Vicky Threadgold, Radiographer

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