An X-ray is one of the earliest imaging tools doctors have for diagnosing many medical issues. It is a form of electromagnetic radiation and was discovered in 1895 by the German physicist Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen. Little did he know how useful this would be for the next century and beyond. So, exactly what injuries can an X-ray detect?
X-rays show images in shades of black and white. They help with diagnosis and treatment, they check on progress made after an injury or a medical condition, and results are almost immediate. We all want quick answers, and an X-ray will provide that instant gratification to both the physician and patients.
Over the years the simple X-ray has developed into digital and more sophisticated testing.
Three Top Uses Of An X-ray
Although there are countless uses of X-rays, three stand out.
Mammography uses X-rays to image what is inside the breast, like tumors or other abnormal growths. This one application has drastically reduced death from breast cancer because it allows for early diagnosis and treatments.
Any bone injury is followed up by an X-ray. Even if the doctor can diagnose a broken bone or dislocation before an X-ray is taken, it can still provide additional and valuable information. It can show if the bone is broken into pieces like a complete fracture, or if it is a partial break. This enables your doctor to treat the fracture so it heals correctly.
Urinary Tract Conditions
Another use for X-rays is to look inside organs. With an intravenous X-ray a contrast material is injected to highlight issues in the bladder, kidneys or ureter. This might be utilized for patients with blood in their urine or unexplained abdominal pain.
Additional Uses For X-rays
Some additional uses include the following:
- Bone loss from osteoporosis
- Infections like pneumonia
- Calcifications like kidney stones or in the breast
- Some tumors
- Congestive heart failure
- Arthritis in joints
- Dental issues
- Blood vessel blockages
- Digestive problems
- Foreign objects swallowed by children, shrapnel left in the body, or surgical instruments left behind
- Abnormal bone growths and spurs
A chest X-ray can detect lung problems, abnormalities in the aorta and heart, can find cysts, cancers, heart failure, and lung diseases and conditions.
After approximately 126 years since their discovery, X-rays remain an indispensable medical tool.
Contact Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center if you have questions about an upcoming X-ray or the results of a recent one.