After learning how the injury occurred and examining the child, the doctor will use X rays to determine the type of fracture and decide on treatment. Because growth plates have not yet hardened into solid bone, they do not show on X rays but appear as gaps between the shaft of a long bone and the end of the bone. Because injuries to the growth plate may be hard to see on X ray, an X ray of the noninjured side of the body may be taken so the two sides can be compared. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is another way of looking at bone, provides useful information on the appearance of the growth plate. In some cases, other diagnostic tests, such as computed tomography (CT) or ultrasound, will be used.
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