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What are X-Rays used for?

Updated at: Apr 19, 2013
Written by: Arlene CoelhoPublished at: Apr 06, 2013
What are X-Rays used for?

What are X-Rays used for: X-rays are used for many purposes, including determining if a bone is broken, seeing whether an internal organ is infected, and looking for cancer. X-rays also helps in preventing the growth of the cancer cells and even d

What are X-Rays used for

X-Rays are used to examine various parts of a human body. These help dentists to detect ailments of the teeth. Doctors use X-rays to locate bullets and other foreign objects within the body, as well as, to look for ruptures on underlying soft tissue in case of a victim who’s been in an accident. X-rays guide orthopedics in setting broken bones and other abnormalities in the joints. Now days, there are many different types of X-rays that are used to detect cancer and tumors.


[Read: What are X-Rays?]


X-rays are primarily used for detecting:

  • fractures and infections in bones and teeth can be seen on x-rays and become identified for treatment,
  • arthritis in a patient's joints,
  • dental decay to check for cavities in a patient's mouth,
  • osteoporosis  that measure the density of a person's bones,
  • bone cancer  through tumors,
  • lung infections or conditions like pneumonia, tuberculosis, lung cancer, breast cancer  through a special type of test called mammography, which examines and shows variations in breast tissue,
  • enlarged hearts, which is one of the signs of congestive heart failure,
  • blocked blood vessels,
  • digestive tract problems with the aid of Barium, a contrast medium a patient needs to either drink or receive through enema,
  • swallowed items.

[Read: An Overview of Dental X-rays]

Sometimes, x-rays are also used in various therapeutic processes to help the surgeon guide equipment to the area being examined or treated. For instance, x-rays are used during a coronary angioplasty, wherein a catheter (a long, thin, flexible tube) is inserted into a blood vessel either in groin or arm.

CT scanning (imaging method that uses x-rays to create pictures) helps in getting a detailed 3-D image of certain parts of the body, such as soft tissues, the pelvis, blood vessels, the lungs, the brain, abdomen, and bones. The image allows a doctor to confirm the presence of a tumor. The tumor's size can be measured, along with its exact location, as well as to determine how much the tumor has affected nearby tissue.

[Read: X-rays: How are They Done?]

X-rays also helps in preventing the growth of the cancer cells and even destroy them altogether by exposing the cells to x-radiations. This process is called radiation therapy as it uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA. Radiation therapy helps in shrinking the size of tumors using high-energy radiation. Thus, they are used for the treatment of leukemia, bursitis, and also tumors.


 Read more articles on X-rays.





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