Is there any type of medical imaging more well known than the x-ray? After all, it was the first type of diagnostic imaging available, and you never hear about Superman’s MRI vision...he has x-ray vision! X-rays have been with us for so long that they’re simply a part of our everyday vocabulary.
But what do you know about x-rays? Let’s take a look at their history and how x-ray images are formed.
Where Do X-Rays Come From?
X-rays are a naturally-occurring form of radiation that is found throughout the universe, often coming from stars (including our sun). In fact, Earth is bombarded by a large amount of x-ray radiation every day, an amount that is known as “background radiation.” So you’re being hit by safe levels of x-rays whether you know it or not.
X-rays can be produced in medical imaging equipment by bombarding a heavy metal (such as copper) like copper with high energy electrons. This method has been used for more than a century.
When Were They First Used?
Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen is credited with discovering and studying x-rays, starting sometime around 1895. (He used the letter X because it was an unidentified form or radiation.) By putting a photographic plate under his wife’s hand and bombarding her hand with this newly-found radiation, he was able to create the first x-ray. Just six years later he won the first Nobel Prize in physics. Despite working with radiation for his entire adult life, he beat the life expectancy of the average man of his time by 20 years!
X-rays were the primary form of medical imaging for decades. They taught doctors about the inner working of the human body and eliminated a great deal of exploratory surgery.
What Are The Advantages?
X-rays offer the ability to see both bone and internal organs while producing a relatively small amount of radiation when compared to CT scans. They’re an excellent low-cost option of diagnostic imaging, and the radiation dose has been dropping progressively since they were invented. Speaking of which...
What About Digital X-Rays?
Digital x-rays use a digital sensor (much like your digital camera’s sensor) in order to create an image. This new form or x-ray allows doctors and radiologists to use a substantially less does or radiation, sometimes reducing that level by 90-percent!
What Are The Disadvantages?
X-rays are static, of course. They can’t show movement over time unless you use the much more complex x-ray technologies like a CT scan. X-rays are also two dimensional, so with standard digital x-rays there’s no way to see something from other angles (or a more “shallow” or “deeper” image) without taking additional x-rays. Finally, x-rays are a type of ionizing radiation, so overuse can increase the possibility of cell damage in the body. At the same time, digital x-rays use the least amount of any commonly-used ionization radiology.
X-rays are a tried-and-true form of medical imaging, and we have high-resolution digital equipment that can help you and your doctor make the best decision. Contact Fair Lawn Imaging when you need the best in diagnostic imaging!