The idea of X-ray vision has been the stuff of super heroes, comics, science fiction and popular imagination for decades. In real life, X-rays have been part of medicine for more than 100 years. Early on, department stores such as Macy’s and Bloomingdales set up demonstrations and novelty shows installed X-ray “slot machines” where patrons could examine their hand bones for a coin. X-rays have come a long way. Today Radiologic Technology offers many career options; advances in technology make this a dynamic field with opportunities to learn more and specialize.
Did You Know?
- Wilhelm Roentgen, a German physicist, discovered x-rays in 1895. He called the new form of radiation, which could pass through many materials that absorb visual light, X-radiation and the X stuck. So did Roentgen. Roentgens are one method used to measure X-rays.
- X-rays use low doses of radiation to capture images of bones but don’t give doctors much information about tissues, tendons and joints.
- Other forms of medical imaging use different technology. Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses very strong magnets that polarize protons in water molecules in human tissue, creating signals that can be translated into images. Ultrasounds use sound waves to produce both two-dimension and three-dimension images.
- A century ago, head x-rays could take up to 11 minutes to expose. Now images are made in milliseconds with as little as 2 percent of the x-ray dose used in those early years.
- By June 1896, six months after Roentgen’s announced discovery, battlefield doctors were using X-rays to pinpoint bullets in wounded soldiers.
- It didn’t take long for scientists to realize the damaging qualities of early x-rays had a flip side: By the early 1900s, it was clear that the radiation also could fight cancers and skin diseases. Today, Radiology is divided into two categories – diagnostic and treatment.