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After 127 Years the X-ray Continues to Play a Vital Role in Health Care

Nov 07, 2022

@2022 ASRT

Health care dramatically changed on Nov. 8, 1895, when German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered the x-ray. Hailed as a medical miracle, scientists and physicians started using x-rays in the clinical setting soon after, and its use skyrocketed in the early 20th century. Fast-forward to 2022 and health care providers still rely on the x-ray to detect bone fractures, find foreign objects in the body, identify lung disease and much more.

The x-ray was the catalyst for advanced medical imaging modalities like computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear medicine and ultrasound. In addition, radiation therapists use x-rays and other forms of electromagnetic radiation in cancer treatments. Quite simply, the x-ray changed health care and continues to be a key player in patient care on a global scale.

An important part of the x-ray’s history includes the radiologic technologists who perform medical imaging and radiation therapy procedures. Since the early stages of the x-ray, radiologic technologists have worked to establish patient-safety protocols, patient-positioning techniques, equipment processes and radiation-safety guidelines. Their contributions to medical imaging and radiation therapy are a vital part of the x-ray’s story.

To commemorate the x-ray’s birthday, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists is celebrating National Radiologic Technology Week®, Nov. 6-12. The week recognizes Wilhelm Roentgen’s discovery of the x-ray and honors the vital work of medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals in patient care and health care safety.