What is an X-ray (Radiograph)?
An X-ray (radiograph) is an image of an area of the body captured using electromagnetic energy beams in the form of ionizing radiation to produce images onto film or computer. X-rays are the original and most frequently used form of diagnostic medical imaging and were first discovered by German scientist, Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895. In an X-ray, images are formed from the differences in density of the tissues that absorb a beam of electrons traveling through the body. These images are captured digitally in the form of a radiograph.
Today, a diagnostic X-ray exam is one of the fastest and easiest exams enabling a physician to view the internal organs and conditions of bones. X-rays has come a long way from the 90 minutes of imaging time it used to take to produce studies to mere fractions of a minute. Learn more about the history of the X-ray here.
X-rays are commonly used to assess:
- Bone fractures and skeletal trauma
- Joint injuries and infections
- Arthritis and cancer diagnosis
- Lungs, heart, kidneys and blood vessels
- Skulls, facial bones, and sinuses
- Artery blockages and digestive tracts
- Breast, chest, and pelvic areas
X-rays and radiation safety
We’re exposed to background radiation all the time in daily life, naturally occurring from radioactive materials on the earth and cosmic rays from space. X-rays used in medical imaging are safe when administered by qualified radiology technicians. The amount of radiation used in most examinations is very small and the benefits greatly outweigh the risk of harm. HDI’s X-ray Technologists have been trained to use the minimum amount of radiation necessary for optimal results.
Women should always inform their physician and HDI Technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant so that the necessary precautions can be taken.
To learn more about effective X-ray radiation doses, visit radiologyinfo.org.