How are fractures in children diagnosed?
Your child’s doctor will closely examine the injured area for tenderness, redness and swelling and will order diagnostic imaging tests.
Diagnostic tests may include:
X-ray: X-ray imaging uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones and organs onto film; it is usually sufficient for diagnosing the majority of fractures.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Some fractures (such as stress fractures) don't show up on an x-ray until a few weeks after the bone starts hurting. An MRI is a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. These types of tests are more sensitive than x-rays and can pick up smaller fractures before they get worse.
- Bone scan: A bone scan is another type ofnon-invasive imaging technique that uses a radioactive substance to visualize the bones.
- Computed tomography scan (CT, CAT scan): A CT scan is a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body.