What is an X-ray? X-rays are the type of electromagnetic radiation which is same as the visible light. However, the X-rays have got higher energy which can allow it to pass through most of the objects. In this list the human body is also included. The X-rays are utilized to create the images of the tissues and the structures of the body, which are difficult to see through the ordinary eyes. The X-rays will journey throughout the body through the x-ray detector, which is placed close to the particular part of the patient which needs to be imaged. Then after that, an image will be made to show the X-ray of the body to the doctor. It is like a shadow of the body.
One type of X-ray detector is a photographic film, and there are other types of sensors which are also helpful. They will produce a digital image of the external parts of the body. The X-ray images made through this method are called as the ‘radiographs.’
How do the X-rays work?
To make the type of image called the radiograph the patient who wants to take a medical X-ray has to have their body positioned so the particular part of the body can be imaged. It has to be located between the source of the X-ray and the X-ray detector. The machine will be switched on and x-rays journeying through the body will be absorbed in immeasurable amounts in each of the tissues in the body. It will depend on the density of the radioactive rays passed through the tissues. The density of the radioactivity will, on the other hand, depend on the atomic number that is the number of protons present in the nucleus of the atom of the parts being imaged and the density. For instance, the bones in the body will quickly absorb the rays because they have high calcium content. They make a difference to the X-ray detector. The structure of the bones will appear visibly whiter when compared to the other tissues. They will come out as clear in the dark background of the radiograph. Moreover, the x-rays will pass faster easily in the less dense tissues like the muscle and fat and also the cavities which are filled with airs in the lungs. These kinds of structures are shown in greyish shades.
When are the X-rays used?
Here are some of the procedures related to the X-rays which are used for diagnosis and treatment.
The X-ray Diagnosis
The radiograph is used for detection of cancer and also for its diagnosis. In the X-rays, the tumors will appear brightly as regular and irregular shaped parts from the background of the radiograph. It will be visibly whiter on the black background. The Mammographs will show the small bits of calcium termed as microcalcifications. They will be displayed as bright parts in the X-rays. While not considered dangerous the microcalcifications are known to be the sign of some types of cancer.
This type of X-ray will detect the cases and issues of bone fractures, injuries, pneumonia, foreign objects, and tumors.
CT (Computed Tomography)
It has the combinations of the traditional X-ray along with the processing of the computer to create a series of cross-sectional images of the parts of the body. It is then later joined to form the image of three dimensional X-rays. This type of images is more precise and shows detail when it is compared with ordinary radiographs. It gives the doctors the benefit to look at the structures inside the body from all kinds of angles.
This utilizes the X-rays and also the fluorescent screen to have the real-time changes happening in the body. It is also used to view the processes involved in the diagnostics. For instance, the examination of a contract agent can be followed when it is injected in the body or taken by mouth. It is used to know the movements of the heart, and with the contrasting agent, the flow of blood from the heart to the muscles can be seen. This type of advanced technology used with the contrasting radiographic agent to conduct an internally placed catheter at the time of cardiac angioplasty. It is a simple invasive procedure for freeing the blocked arteries that are the important parts of the body which supplies the blood to the heart.
Therapeutic – Therapy of radiation in cancer treatments
X-rays and the other kinds of high energy radiation are utilized to eliminate the cancerous cells and tumors which cause damage to the DNA. The dose of radiation which is used to treat the cancer is very high than the dose of radiation used in diagnostic imaging. The radiation used in therapy will come from a machine externally from the body or from the material of radioactivity.
Are there any risks involved?
When used suitably, the diagnostic advantages of the x-ray scans are considerably more than the risks. The X-ray scans will diagnose the potential conditions which may become life-threatening. Some of the conditions like blocked blood vessels, infections, and bone cancer can be examined and analyzed for treatment. But the X-rays will produce the harmful rays of radiation that is risky to the living tissue. It increases the exposures to the risks for the individual ailing from a dangerous disease. On the other hand, the risk of getting cancer from radiation is low.
The X-ray in pregnant women will not be risky to her and her baby. The doctors will not use radiation to image the pelvis and abdomen of the women.
How long does it take for the X-ray result to come?
It takes over five-minute for the X-ray to be taken and the doctor will just take a glance probably for one minute to decipher the cause of the problem. The broken bones and other minor issues will be found out in the traditional X-ray. But the more serious causes will need much-advanced equipment.