X-ray is the abbreviated name of X-radiation, one kind of light ray, like the electric light used in our daily life. But, difference is the wavelength of the rays. Human eyes cannot detect light of both the longer wavelengths, such as radio waves, or light with shorter wavelengths, such as X-ray.
X-ray has the electromagnetic radiation having shorter wavelength than Ultra Violet (UV) rays but typically longer than Gamma Rays. It was first discovered by the German scientist Wilhelm Röntgen, and he had named it X-radiation to signify as an unknown nature of radiation.
X-ray is used for making an image of the inner side of an object including human bodies. Its specialty is that it can pass through nonmetallic objects, including animal tissues and organs. The machine that generates the rays is a giant camera which produces highly concentrated beam of electrons known as X-ray photons. It travels through the air, comes into contact with the body tissues, absorbed by the dense materials like bones of the body and finally produces an image on the metal film. The image visible to us is black and white. Black areas represent those parts of the body where the X-ray have managed to pass through and white areas represent the denser tissues, such as bones, which have absorbed the beams. This black and white film depicts the present insider image of the scanned object to the end user.
Although X-ray has gained its importance specially in the field of medical science, but nowadays it has been also used in other areas like detecting suspicious objects inside of a cargo or luggage going to be dispatched from one country to another country through a port. After the terrorist attack of 9/11, it has been widely used to trace out any forbidden objects that may be carried by an Air lines passenger.
X-ray imaging has been evolved into many forms based upon the needs like X-ray, computed tomography (CT) and mammography. The main benefit of X-ray is that it is fast, easy and accurate. It is used by the doctors to guess the prevailing condition of the body parts, where you’re experiencing pain or trouble, monitor the development of a diagnosed disease, check the aftermath of the previous treatment. It is mainly in the following diseases:
X-ray for which diseases
- Bone cancer
- Bone fractures
- Breast tumors
- Blocked blood vessels
- conditions affecting the vital organs
- Digestive disorder
- Enlarged heart
- Infections, especially internals.
- Requiring to retrieve a devoured items
- Tooth decay
X-ray operators are highly trained and are required to follow Standard Operating Procedures, which are approved by the state and federal laws. Typically the clinic staffs suggest the patients to wear special type of gowns arranged by the authority. More importantly they would ask you to take away any metallic items like jewelry attached with your body before you undergo through the procedure. Beside of their suggestions, it’s your duty to inform the doctor or radiologist if you have any metal implants embedded within your body, which can obstruct the X-ray while passing through the body and thereby creating a fuzzy image. To make the image clearer, the doctor or radiologists may recommend you to take iodine or barium compounds known as “Contrast Dye” before the initiation of the procedure. In some particular cases like gastrointestinal tract, you may be required to fast for a certain period of time before the X-ray.
When the patient is fully prepared, the radiologist will advice you how to take position your body to create better images. It’s essential to remain unmoved while the beams are being passed through the body to make better images possible. The radiologist finishes the test as soon as he or she is satisfied with the images that are taken.
The risk inherent in X-ray is that it’s an ionization of radiation and if it is overdosed then it may damage the cells of the body resulting in cancer disease. That’s why an extra cautiousness and rules should be strictly followed in using X-rays in order to ensure that the benefits outweighs the risks associated with it. Fortunately in United States, the whole operation of X-ray is performed under the constant supervision of authorities like – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), State Governments. In US all the doctors, nurses, radiologists, clinics associated with X-ray must be registered and certified, for which they have to pass through a rigorous testing procedures. All these are done for the safety of public health and to ensure the safest treatment for all the US citizens.