How is radiation used to diagnose patients?
In 1895, German/Dutch physicist Wilhelm Röntgen discovered x-rays. In one of his experiments, he found that x-rays could pass through the body, producing an image of a skeleton on a photographic screen. Since Rontgen’s discovery over 100 years ago, radiation has been used to create visual images of the inside of the body to diagnose medical conditions.
Medical professionals use ionizing radiation in specific imaging procedures to help diagnose injuries or illness within the body. The primary goal of medical imaging is to answer a clinical question or guide an intervention. Some examples of the more common medical imaging procedures that utilize radiation include X-rays, computed tomography (CT or CAT scans), and fluoroscopy.
For more information on the use of radiation in medicine, visit:
- The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) webpage on Radiation in Medicine
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) webpage on Medical Imaging
- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) webpage on Uses of Radiation