Bone Age X Ray

Bone Age X Ray

Bone Age X Ray is a specific X ray of the hand and wrist that is used to determine the skeletal age of your child.

X-rays are pictures of the inside of the body. An X-ray machine creates these pictures using waves of energy called radiation. Bones and tissues in the body absorb different amounts of radiation, which show up on the X-ray pictures in shades of black, gray, and white. Skeletal age refers to how much your child’s bones have grown in comparison to how much they are expected to grow by a certain age.

The hand and wrist bones have growth zones, also called growth plates, that have special cells that help with growth. These growth zones appear darker on an X-ray than the rest of the bone. Growth zones are eventually replaced by bone once a child reaches young adulthood and stops growing. Your child’s health care provider will compare your child’s bone development on the X-ray to the standards for each age group. This comparison helps to calculate the skeletal age of your child.

Why is bone age X-ray done?

A bone age X-ray can help evaluate your child’s skeletal development. Determining whether the skeleton is more or less developed than average can help diagnose certain conditions or guide treatment decisions for growth and development.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • Any allergies your child has.
  • All medicines your child is taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any surgeries your child has had.
  • Any medical conditions your child has.

What are the risks?

Getting a bone age X-ray is a safe procedure.

What happens before the procedure?

  • A protective lead apron will be placed on your child to shield parts of the body from the X-ray.
  • Your child may need to remove any jewelry and other metal objects from the area prior to having the X-ray.
  • If needed, you may be able to stay in the room with your child during the X-ray. You will also need to wear a protective lead apron to protect your body from radiation.

What happens during the procedure?

  • The X-ray machine will create a picture of your child’s left hand using a tiny burst of radiation. This is painless.
  • Your child may need to have several pictures taken at different angles.
  • Your child must try to be as still as possible during the exam to get the best possible images.

What happens after the procedure?

  • Your child will be able to return to his or her normal activities.
  • The X-ray will be examined by your child’s health care provider or a radiology specialist.
  • Ask your child’s health care provider when to expect the results and how to get them.
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