In 1895, a German professor named Wilhelm Conrad Röentgen made an incredible discovery… by accident. His discovery is now widely used to help us understand things from DNA to outer space. More commonly seen in medical science, the X-Ray has become an irreplaceable scientific discovery – and was even voted so in 2009.
A lot has changed since 1895, and the way X-Rays are used has transformed drastically. I’m sure Professor Röentgen never imagined his discovery would be so valued to airport security! While there are many avenues I could take when talking about X-Rays, I’m going to focus on the impact and importance it has had on medicine and diagnosis.
First thing first, what does an X-Ray do? An X-Ray is a non-invasive imaging test that allows us to see the inside of the body. Most commonly, an x-ray is used to look at broken bones. It can also help in the diagnosis and treatment of various medical conditions including fractures, infections, arthritis, osteoporosis, bone cancer and more.
To get these images, a large camera connected to the X-Ray machine is moved over the part of the body that needs to be seen. The camera captures images as X-Ray beams pass through your body and are absorbed in varying amounts depending on the density of the body part. The calcium in your bones absorb X-ray beams very well, which is why they turn up white on film. Fat and other tissues do not absorb the beams at the same capacity which is why they look more grey on film.
Doctors rely on X-Rays to give them an “insiders look” without cutting a patient open – beneficial to patients and doctors! This inside look can diagnose, monitor or treat different conditions in the minutes it takes to take the picture.
What kind of diagnosis can a Doctor make from an X-ray?
The easiest diagnosis is a broken bone or fracture, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Kidney and bladder X-Rays is one of the first tools used to help diagnose bladder and GI pain or abnormalities. Heads up, you may be asked to arrive for this X-Ray with a full bladder so try booking an early appointment!
Chest X-rays are one of the most common types of X-Rays (especially during COVID). If you’re suffering from chest pain, fever, a persistent cough, and a heart or lung condition, you’ll probably be asked to go for a chest x-ray. A chest X-ray will also be used to detect pneumonia.
A painless picture and an amazing diagnosis tool? Sounds too good to be true! And it really is. There is such minimal risk to getting an X-Ray, but it isn’t zero risk. There is minimal exposure to radiation during an x-ray, and most often the benefits far outweigh the risks. While exposure to radiation is minimal, pregnant women should take precaution and avoid the procedure as radiation poses risks to unborn children.
With the minimal radiation exposure, your X-Ray technician will take precautions during your appointment to keep that risk as low as possible. You may be asked to wear a lead apron or other lead coverings to protect the body parts not being X-Rayed. Your X-Ray technician will also protect themselves with a lead outfit to minimize their risk of exposure. Why lead? It reduces the radiation dose.
If you do get referred for an X-Ray, make sure you find a diagnostic imaging clinic you trust. This should be an easy and painless experience for you. At Accurate Imaging Diagnostics, we strive to improve the overall health and well-being of every patient that we serve by providing them with a positive, professional experience and accurate diagnostic imaging results – no pun intended. Our highly qualified staff adheres to a high standard of personal and professional ethics at all times. We work as a team to treat all members of our diverse community – including patients, their families, and our colleagues – with dignity and respect. Our goal is to provide high quality care for our patients with empathy and sensitivity while recognizing that everyone deserves the best possible health care experience.
Visit accurateimagingdiagnostics.com for more information on us!