While visiting a doctor, you must have seen a heavy machine. It is used for taking the X-rays of your bones making it easier to locate fractures in your bones. But sometimes, you might wonder how does an X ray machine work? And who thought of the idea of an X-ray machine to figure out faults in our skeleton? Let us discuss one of the most amazing inventions in human history.
1. How X-Ray was invented?
The machine was invented by a physics professor Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen from Wurzburg, Bavaria, Germany, in November 1895. He was not planning to invent such a thing that can take pictures of our bones. He was in his laboratory investigating the external effects of various types of vacuum tubes. These tubes were invented by physics professors and physicists before him.
While working with Crookes-Hittorf tube, cardboard, Lenard tube, and an induction coil, he realized that there was some kind of shimmer appearing from the barium platinocyanide screen, which was his next equipment in the experiment. These newly discovered rays were something different. He never heard or read about something like this. So, he named them X-rays picking up the X value from the mathematical term that’s used for an unknown term in a question. (Also read When Were Numbers invented?)
2. What are the Names given to the X Rays?
Later on, when this invention became famous in different regions, the rays were known as Rontgen rays in various languages and the X-ray radiograms were widely known as Rontgenograms. Let us know how does an X ray machine work to understand issues of bones and other body parts. (Also read Different Words for Breasts)
3. What was the First Experiment done on X-ray?
After six weeks of trying different things under and between the rays, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen decided to try the experiment of X-ray on his wife’s hand to understand the practical application of it. On seeing the x-ray of her hand, his wife exclaimed, I have seen my death. In the next segment, you will read how does an X ray machine work and also its techniques. (Also read 4 Most Important Inventions of the Industrial Revolution)
4. What Techniques are used in X Ray Machine Working?
- The x rays were actually gamma rays from the vacuum tubes on which Rontgen was investigating. The technique which uses these rays to take pictures of objects to view their internals is known as radiography. This technique of using gamma rays as an X-ray is used in several other forms as well.
- The phenomenon that deals with the study of anatomy using the radiographic image is known as radiographic anatomy. The method used for obtaining X-rays of bones occurs when the denser medium blocks the way of the light emitted from the machine, and that object placed between the sheet placed under that object. This shadow is then converted into light with a fluorescent screen, which will capture a photographic film. (Also read How do Earbuds Work?)
5. What is the Reason behind Bones being Visible?
Bones are made up of calcium, a hard material making your bones denser than any other body part. Other body parts are not much rich in calcium, but they may have a high or low quantity of carbon, and x-rays cross-section is low in carbon than calcium. So, the phenomenon of how does an X ray machine work depends largely on the density of objects coming in contact with radiation. Therefore, you can obtain images of your bones and lungs on the x-ray.
Your calcium-rich bones absorb more radiation from the rays and appear white on X-rays. This process is known as projection radiography examinations in which a doctor is able to locate any fractures, items stuck in the body, etc. (Also read What Is the Funny Bone Nerve?)
6. What are the Types of X-rays and their Uses?
Depending upon the health condition and, requirements of diagnosing different issues, different X-ray machines are used. The different types of X-rays are as follows:
- Fluoroscopy, used along with the fluorescent screen, is used to watch the working of several other internal organs like the heartbeat. It is also helpful in locating things in the digestive tract that were swallowed or injected. Cardiac angioplasty also uses the fluorescent method with selecting a precise place of placing an injection in the body like epidural injections or aspirations.
- Mammography is a type of X-ray radiography that helps in the detection of breast cancer. CT scan or computed tomography is used to prepare a three-dimensional X-ray image. The system combined with computer processing creates detailed images of the bones and other cross-sections of your body.
- X-rays are also used in treating cancer through radiation therapy. To destroy the DNA of cancerous cells and, tumors their high-energy radiation x-rays are used. This is how an x-ray machine work in your medical field. (Also read A list of incredible scientific discoveries)
Some other uses of X-ray radiography are
- Tumors, arthritis, dental issues,
- Bone fractures, bone loss due to osteoporosis,
- Calcifications like kidney stones, congestive heart failure,
- Digestive problems, blockage in blood vessels, infections,
- Locate foreign objects in the body if swallowed.
So X rays are used widely for detecting issues of your body. To know a few health-related issues, you can check out what would happen if there was no Sunlight.
7. Is X-ray Dangerous?
As you know how does an X ray machine work, you should realize that radiation is not good for the human body. During the process, the radiation emitting from the x-rays enters your body. The radiation harm the living tissue but very low in amount. Damage to the tissue depends on the number of times you came in contact with these rays, in a lifetime. In extreme cases of excessive radiation, a person can even develop cancer, skin burns, and even eye cataracts. (Also read 90 Mind Blowing Human Body Facts)