A physician uses an x-ray or roentgenogram to determine many facets of injury to the human body. Before Cat Scans or MRI’s, the x-ray was cutting edge technology second only to the antibiotic in it’s ability to cure disease or injury in man.
1. Skull- The physician will order a skull series if there has been any trauma to the frontal, occipital or parietal areas of the skull, itself. These areas house the brain and other vital organs such as the pituitary gland. The pineal gland is calcified in the mid to late twenties, and on a frontal or anterior view of the skull, the pineal is normally in the exact center of the brain, and in easy view. The physician can take a ruler and simply measure the distance from the pineal to each side of the skull. If the pineal is off-center, it is of concern that there is a mass in the brain, or bleeding, or some type of injury that has pushed the pineal gland off-center.
If there has been a facial injury, the physician can analise the eye orbit, zygomatic arch, sinuses, maxillae and mandible.
Soft tissue can be visualized in some instances as well, such as the adenoids, tongue and soft tissue of the throat. This depends on the quality of the x-ray.
2. Chest- A chest film is usually ordered front to back (anterior to posterior) and side to side (lateral). The A.P. view of the chest visualizes many important organs such as the heart, lungs and mediastinum (esophagus, trachea and other organs between the lungs). Suspicious cloudy areas of the lung can be visualized, as can the border of a collapsed lung, et. al. The enlargement of the heart and other abnormalities can be visualized. The ribs are cartilaginous in the front, but many times a broken rib can be visualized.
3. Arms, hands, pelvis legs and feet- The physician will look at these areas if there is suspected bone breakage. The x-ray allows the physician to visualize the type of breakage in order to reduce (correct) the break without having to cut into soft tissue. This is not always the case, as some breaks must be reduced surgically.
This is just a touch of how the doctor uses the x-ray to benefit him in his work. It is also advantageous in some live viewing procedures such as an upper G.I. series. A great many of these procedures have been outdated by endoscopic viewing.
However; the x-ray vital tool for a long time to come.