Radiography is a medical imaging study, in which a picture (X-ray or radiograph) is taken of a specific part of the body with the aid of X-radiation. This is an electromagnetic radiation which penetrates through the tissues of the body.
An X-ray makes defects visible and often provides additional information in order to make the correct diagnosis. X-rays are widely used to demonstrate or exclude bone fractures. There are also many thorax pictures taken. These are pictures of the chest cavity, in which diseases can be seen, such as pneumonia, tumor or heart failure.
The X-radiation is generated in an X-ray tube. In this tube, electrons are fired at a specific electrode with a very high speed. When the electrons collide, X-radiation is created. The X-radiation is targeted at the object to be imaged and a picture is created by means of a photo-sensitive film. Because the different organs, tissues and bones don’t pass the same amount of radiation, it's possible to distinguish the various structures in the body on an X-ray. Tissues that block a lot of radiation are white on the X-ray, tissues that don’t block radiation are black.
During radiography, an X-ray film is placed behind the patient, so that the patient stands or lies between the film and the X-ray device. The X-ray device directs the energy beam at the patient’s body part to be examined. Taking an X-ray lasts as long as taking an ordinary photograph.
- X-radiation was discoverd in 1895 by the German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen.
- With radiography, no depth can be determined, since all structures lie over each other on the picture.
- Large amounts of X-radiation are harmful to the body and may cause cancer in some cases. When taking a limited number of X-rays, however, the risk of radiation damage is so small that this risk doesn’t outweigh the medical benefit of radiography.