X-linked hypophosphatemia (XLH) is a genetic disease characterized by weakness in the bones and teeth. One of the methods physicians use to diagnose XLH is X-ray imaging.

What is X-ray imaging?

X-ray imaging uses electromagnetic radiation to create an image of the inside of the body based on how different tissues absorb X-rays. Therefore, physicians can use X-ray imaging to take a picture of a patient’s bones, which appear white as the calcium in the bones absorbs most of the X-rays. Other tissues absorb less and appear in different shades of gray. The brightness and “texture” of bones in an X-ray image give an indication of the patient’s bone health.

How can X-ray imaging help diagnose XLH?

Patients with XLH have weaker bones and teeth than normal. In X-rays, bones of those with XLH may appear darker than normal or show speckled areas of darkness, which indicate weak and soft bones. These results are similar to those found in patients with rickets, so X-ray imaging alone is not enough, but it can be helpful to diagnose XLH, in combination with other tests.

What happens during an X-ray?

Patients do not need to prepare for an X-ray, although it is recommended that they remove any clothing with metal zips or clasps, and any jewelry that may appear in the image. Generally, the patient lies down on a table or stands in front of a flat surface that contains an X-ray detector. If only an arm or leg is being scanned, a lead apron may be placed over the torso to shield that area from the X-rays.

The X-ray process takes a few minutes and is painless. The radiographer or technician will stand behind a shielded panel while the X-ray image is being collected.

Is X-ray imaging safe?

Radiation exposure during X-ray imaging is generally low, and the benefits of an X-ray usually outweigh the risks. However, women who are or may be pregnant should inform their doctor or the radiologist.

What happens after an X-ray image is taken?

After an X-ray image is taken, it is analyzed by a radiologist. This analysis is quick and usually takes a day or two. The physician or radiologist will then meet with the patient and their parents or caregivers to discuss the results of the X-ray image and whether any other tests are needed.


Last updated: Jan. 3, 2020


XLH News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.