What is an X-ray? 

An X-ray is a test that creates images to let a doctor view the inside of the human body without having surgery, particularly giving a clear view of the bones. It is quick and painless and helps in accurate diagnosis and treatment for a variety of medical conditions. X-rays use electromagnetic radiation to capture images of the area being examined.  

Discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen, the procedure has been used for decades. Rontgen did not understand the nature of the rays used in the test, he, therefore, called them X-rays, denoting to the mathematical equation where ‘x’ represents the unknown.

X-rays of different types are used for a variety of different purposes. Some examples include a mammogram examining your breasts and a barium enema which looks at your gastrointestinal tract. These types of X-rays give more detail on the specific area they are examining.  

How it works is that rays pass through the body and are absorbed in varying amounts which is dependent on the material density that the rays or beams are passing through.

Dense material such as bone and metal appear as white on the X-ray, whilst the lungs with air in them appear as black. Muscle and fat show up as different shades of grey.  

In the information in the navigation menu above, you will be able to find the basics on X-rays in order to get a thorough understanding and what they are, what they are used for, the procedure of having one done and more. This article is intended purely as a guideline and not as a professional opinion. Please consult with a doctor or healthcare professional for that. 


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