Testing & Diagnosis for Broken Leg in Children

How are broken legs in children diagnosed?

At Boston Children’s Hospital, the first step in treating broken legs in children is to form an accurate and complete diagnosis.

A doctor will use different diagnostic tests to get detailed images of your child's fracture. Typical tests include:


A diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film; usually sufficient for the majority of fractures.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

Computed tomography scan (CT, CAT scan)

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.

Bone scan

A non-invasive imaging technique that uses a radioactive substance to visualize the bones. It’s different from plain X-rays or CT scans in that it shows bone metabolism and cell activity in the bones.