Six Amazing Facts about X-Rays

By November 7, 2018Health Basics
Austin Emergency Room - Diagnostic Services

This week we are celebrating National Radiologic Technology Week, which honors our nation’s radiologic technologists and the vital role they play on the health care team. We wanted to share some incredible facts about X-rays.

1. X-rays have been around for a long time.

X-rays were discovered and developed 123 years ago by a German physicist named Wilhelm Roentgen. Shortly after Roentgen’s announcement of x-rays, doctors started using them to detect foreign objects in the body.

2. X-rays are used in the art world.

In addition to their amazing uses in the medical field, x-rays have been used to examine under-paintings, which are rough sketches artists used to guide their final paintings. They have also been used to examine priceless artifacts, such as ancient Egyptian mummies or amber fossils, more closely without damaging them.

3. X-rays have influenced medical treatments.

Chest x-rays allowed physicians to detect shadows on the lungs earlier, making tuberculosis treatments more effective due to early diagnosis. Today, x-rays (radiotherapy) are used to treat some forms of cancer.

4. X-rays will always have an air of mystery.

The “x” in “x-ray” stands for “unknown.” Though scientists now know a lot about x-rays and what, exactly, they are, Roentgen named them x-rays because he detected the rays but didn’t know quite what they were.

5. The first x-ray did not impress the “patient.”

Roentgen’s first x-ray was of his wife’s left hand, on which was her wedding ring. However, when she saw the image, she was not impressed. She said, “I have seen my death!”

6. X-rays went through a period of novelty.

Until it was known that x-rays were dangerous for those exposed to them, there was an element of novelty. In fact, x-ray machines were at carnivals and circuses in similar fashion to photo booths. Many shoe stores also used x-rays to ensure a better fit of shoe using the shape and size of the bones detected in the x-ray images.

Source: ECPI University


Five Star ER is freestanding Emergency Room located in South Austin, Pflugerville, and Dripping Springs. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Contact us if you have any questions.



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