The Importance of an X-ray

The Importance of an X-ray

Medical imaging is an important part of your diagnosis, because many conditions are difficult to treat without being able to see what’s going on inside your body. No method of medical imaging has been around longer than the X-ray. This method was discovered back in 1895, and is still very commonly used today, with 150 million X-rays done in the U.S. every year. 

Over the years, we have discovered many ways to get medical images including ultrasound, mammography, radiography, sonography, angiography, and magnetic resonance. But the humble X-ray is still an important part of how we see what’s going on inside of your body. Let’s explore what an X-ray is, how it works, and why it still has many benefits for your health.

If you live in the Bakersfield, California, area and you need medical imaging to diagnose discomfort, Dr. Yadwinder Kang and 1st Choice Urgent Care are here to help. We offer 20 years of expert medical and family care, and have a wide variety of ways to diagnose and treat your preventive and urgent care needs.

What is an X-ray?

The process of taking an X-ray was discovered accidentally in 1895 by physicist Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen while testing to see if cathode rays could pass through glass. He found that a green, incandescent light emanated from the cathode ray tube (a vacuum tube that produces images when struck by electron beams). This tube was covered in a thick black paper and projected onto a nearby screen, leaving a shadow of the solid object. 

Rontgen discovered these X-rays passed through organic tissue, making the bones, organs, and other tissue visible. The name literally comes from him not knowing what the rays were, hence X (meaning unknown) rays.

How do X-rays work?

This century-old method of imaging and many other medical imaging devices (radiography, fluoroscopy, CT exams) use the same essential method: an X-ray beam is passed through the body, and a portion of those rays are absorbed or scattered by the body’s internal structures. The remaining pattern is then transferred to a device that detects it, such as film or a computer screen. The level of radiation X-rays give off is small and is considered safe for everyone except developing babies (magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is then recommended).

Benefits of an X-ray

X-rays are used to diagnose an array of different conditions, including:

X-rays help to examine the source of pain and discomfort, monitor the progress of a condition, and check to see if a treatment for a condition is working. Some exams may require swallowing or being injected with a contrast dye, which may consist of barium or iodine and are used to create a clearer image where necessary.

X-ray exams have been around for over a century and still continue to help to diagnose and monitor problems that may arise. If you need an X-ray, make an appointment with Dr. Kang and 1st Choice Urgent Care today.

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