Testing & Diagnosis for Fractures in Children

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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 testing for fractures may include:


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 of non-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.

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