What is a Bone Age Test?
A Bone Age Test is used to see how your body is growing by looking at your bones in your hand and wrist. To look at the bones in your hand and wrist, an X-Ray is used to take the pictures.
As you grow, your bones grow. Sometimes your bones can grow fast and sometimes they grow slow. The Bone Age gives the doctors information about how fast or slow your bones are growing.
The doctors can even predict how tall you may be when you are an adult by using the information from the Bone age test and how tall you are right now.
Why do I need to have a Bone Age Test?
You are having a bone age test because the doctor needs to check how your bones are growing.
What does a Bone Age machine look like?
An X-Ray machine is used for the Bone Age test. The X-Ray machine is a big
camera. Some X-Ray machines are portable, that means that they can be
moved and even brought to your room to take the picture. There are special flat square boxes that keep the pictures, just like in a camera. The box is used to help take the pictures with the X-Ray machine. Your left hand and wrist is placed on top of the box. The X-ray machine will then be placed over top of your hand with a light that will shine on your hand. The X-ray machine will never touch you so you should not feel anything. Only one picture will need to be taken and then you are all done. Once the picture has been taken, the picture is shown to the radiologist. He is a special doctor who looks at X-Ray pictures.
What happens when I have a Bone Age Test?
A porter will come to bring you to the special room to have the X-Ray. A technologist (the person who will take the pictures) will greet you and explain what will happen. Sometimes the technologist will come to your room with an X-Ray machine on wheels and take the pictures there. The technologist may give you a gown to wear. This looks like a backward housecoat. You may already be wearing one. The X-Ray room is usually a little dark; this helps when the technologist takes the pictures.
The technologists will put on special lead vests that are called aprons. They will also put smaller lead blankets over the parts of your body that will not be in the picture. These blankets sometimes can feel a little heavy. The lead blankets and vests are used to help keep the X-Rays only on the body parts that the doctors want pictures of.
Someone like your mom or dad can stay in the room with you; they will also have to wear a lead vest. The technologist will tell you where to put your hand so that they can get the best picture. The technologist will then move the X-Ray tube over the part of your hand and wrist where they are taking the picture. You will see a light shining on your hand. The technologist will then ask you to stay very still and not move while they go behind a window to press a button to take the picture.
If you are moving when the picture is being taken, the picture will be blurry and they will have to take more pictures. When the picture is done, the technologist takes the film and the lead blankets away. The test is very fast. It only takes a few minutes and then you can go back to your room.
What will the Bone Age Test feel like?
Preparing for the test
There is no preparation for a bone age test. When it is time for the test, remember to relax and stay very still so the picture will be clear. The technologist will remind you to sit very still during the picture.
If you have any questions about the test, always ask!
This content has been reviewed and approved by health care team members at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. All content is for educational purposes only. For further information, please speak with your health care team.