This leaflet answers common questions about your child having a skeletal survey. If you would like further information, or have any particular worries, please do not hesitate to ask your nurse or doctor.
In all cases, a doctor or radiographer will explain the survey to you and answer any questions you may have.
As we are a teaching hospital, students may be present for the procedure. You are welcome to request that the student leaves during the procedure and this will not affect the treatment that your child will receive.
What is a skeletal survey?
A skeletal survey is an examination of the body using X-rays. It is useful for assessing a child’s medical needs and any necessary treatment that may be required. This can include the need for a cast if a fracture is identified or if any follow up tests are needed.
You will be asked for verbal consent for a survey to be carried out before the procedure begins.
How is a skeletal survey done?
The skeletal survey will take place in the imaging department. The radiographers will explain the procedure and position your child in the best way for the images to be taken. You may be asked to help your child into certain positions or hold them still depending on their age. The procedure does not hurt, however if your child takes regular pain relief then it is helpful to ensure that they have taken this before the X-rays.
Other ways of taking images of the body such as an MRI, CT or ultrasound scan may also be used to check for other potential injuries to ensure that your child receives the most appropriate treatment.
Before your procedure
For the procedure, it is best if your child is dressed in loose fitting, comfortable clothing. Please also make sure that any jewellery or clothing containing metal (such as zips) that your child is wearing is removed.
After the procedure
A second appointment will normally be booked for your child two weeks later, when a second set of X-rays are undertaken.
This is because some injuries take longer to appear on an X-ray. It is important that your child attends the second appointment, so please let us know if the arranged date is not convenient.
The images from the survey will be reviewed by the radiology team and are usually reported back to the medical team within 24-48 hours – you will receive a copy of this report. The report may also be shared with other teams involved in your child’s care, such as social care.
Risks and side-effects
X-rays emit low dose radiation and are considered to be a low risk procedure.
If you are pregnant, please let the radiographers know as you will not be allowed in the X-ray room. Any parent or carer needed to stay in the room between the ages of 12-55 years old will be asked their pregnancy status. In this instance, you will be able to arrange for another family member or friend to accompany your child during the procedure.