X-Ray Exam: Pelvis
What's an X-Ray?
An X-ray is a safe and painless test that uses a small amount of radiation to make an image of bones, organs, and other parts of the body.
The X-ray image is black and white. Dense body parts, such as bones, block the passage of the X-ray beam through the body. These look white on the X-ray image. Softer body tissues, such as the skin and muscles, allow the X-ray beams to pass through them. They look darker on the image.
X-rays are commonly done in doctors’ offices, radiology departments, imaging centers, and dentists’ offices.
What's a Pelvis X-Ray?
In a pelvis X-ray, an X-ray machine sends a beam of radiation through the pelvic bones, which surround the hip area, and an image is recorded on special film or a computer. This image shows the bones, which include the two hip bones, and the sacrum and the coccyx (tailbone).
An X-ray technician will take pictures of the pelvis:
- from the front with the legs straight (anteroposterior view or AP)
- from the side with the legs bent (lateral view)
Pelvis X-rays are done with a child lying on a table. They should stay still for 2–3 seconds while each X-ray is taken so the images are clear. If an image is blurred, the X-ray technician might take another one.
Why Are Pelvis X-Rays Done?
A pelvis X-ray can help doctors find the cause of pain, swelling, or deformity in the pelvic, hip, or upper leg areas. It also can show broken bones after an injury.
An X-ray can help doctors plan surgery, when needed, and check the results after it. It also can help to detect other problems such as cysts, tumors, and later-stage infections of the pelvic bones.
What if I Have Questions?
If you have questions about the pelvis X-ray or what the results mean, talk to your doctor.