Q:

How do X-ray machines operate?

A:

Quick Answer

X-ray machines operate the same way a camera does, but instead of using visible light, they use X-rays to expose the film. These rays resemble light because they are electromagnetic waves just like light, but have higher energy that enable them to penetrate different materials at varying degrees.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

X-ray machines are used by health practitioners, such as radiographers to conduct X-ray examinations, and radiologists to interpret the images produced by the machines. The frequency of X-rays is high, making them able to penetrate through the human body. During the penetration, energy particles known as photons are absorbed by the body at different rates. This pattern is what is shown in an X-ray image.

Parts of the body made of dense material, such as the bones, are shown as clear white areas in the image while softer parts, such as the lungs and the heart are shown as the dark areas. During an X-ray examination, the part of the body being examined is positioned between a photographic plate and the X-ray machine. Within a fraction of a second, the X-rays from the machine pass through the body and hit the photographic plate, which captures a snapshot of the image. The captured image is then transferred to a computer for further analysis.

Learn more about Diagnostics & Imaging

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the disadvantages of X-rays?

    A:

    The main disadvantage of X-rays is radiation exposure due to diagnostic tests that use this technique for imaging purposes. Many precautions are taken when performing these tests, and patients are exposed to minimal radiation energy, states Merck Manuals. Nevertheless, there are risks for cancer with computed tomography (CT) scans, which also use X-rays.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the frequency of X-rays?

    A:

    The frequency of X-rays is typically 3 x 1017s-1. This corresponds to a wavelength of approximately 0.01 to 10 nanometers. X-rays have a typical energy of 1.2x105 kJ/mol.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What causes distinct black shadows on the lungs in X-rays?

    A:

    Distinct black shadows on the lungs in X-rays result from air present abnormally between the inner border of the wall of the chest and the lung tissue border, as eMedicineHealth explains. Also known as pneumothorax, the condition is caused spontaneously, by rib fractures, injuries to the chest by blunt objects or accidents, rupturing of blebs or air blisters, and the use of a ventilator after chest operations.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Do you need X-rays to diagnose a broken thumb?

    A:

    If a physician suspects a thumb fracture, he typically examines the injury and then orders X-rays to confirm the diagnosis, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Based on the diagnosis, the physician could recommend either surgical or non-surgical treatment.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore