A History Of Radiology From Your Imaging Experts Part 1

Since we could first communicate, people have been obsessed with learning how the human body works. Simple curiosity paved the way for what we now know as diagnostic medical imaging. As a provider of Pittsburgh’s top imaging services, we understand how valuable these historical happenings are. North Pittsburgh Imaging Specialists is proud to offer concise and affordable medical imaging to supply our patients with all that is needed for diagnostic and supervisory services. Today, we’ll look at a basic overview of the history that sparked the interest in a modern professional now known as radiology.

Accidental Beginnings

In 1895, a German scientist named Wilhelm Roentgen was experimenting with the travel of electric currents when they moved through a cathode-ray tube. As this occurred, Roentgen noticed that a fluorescent screen that sat nearby began to radiate as the electric current passed by. Once this screen was turned off, the glowing stopped. These mysterious rays were dubbed “x” rays, which is the term that is still in use today. Roentgen decided that this new ray was being emitted from his experimental tube, where the rays cast shadows of solid objects. This man also quickly discovered that his X-rays could pass through human tissues but not bones. Late in 1895, Roentgen tested this new science out on his wife’s hand, illuminating her bones and wedding ring. Interestingly, though, this breakthrough was not intended for medical use.

Gaining Popularity

Cathode tubes were very common during this era, giving many scientists the ability to perform X-ray experiments of their own. Numerous scientific professionals paused their own experiments to expand on this X-ray science. Scientists were captivated by this new wavelength that was shorter than light. X-rays were now able to be used to determine the structure of items previously deemed unobservable, creating major potential for the studies of physics and medicine. Surgeons quickly realized the value of these devices for treating injuries and being able to identify issues without invasive procedures. Within six months of Roentgen’s discovery, physicians were utilizing X-rays on the battlefield to help with locating bullets lodged in wounded soldiers.

By 1912, technological advances made it possible for more widespread use of X-rays in the industrial setting. The reason for this was because of the X-ray tubes’ inability to deliver enough power to penetrate other materials. The Coolidge tube, often lauded as the most important device in radiology, was invented in 1913. This new tube utilized a high vacuum and a heated filament to provide electrons. Requiring little gas helped to power these tubes up to 100,000 volts with very high stability. For the next two decades, further advancements helped to promote the use of X-rays in the industrial sector.

During this time, widespread use of X-rays occurred with little thought to the hazards associated with its interaction with the human body. Next time, we’ll look at the rise of health concerns and the push for safer practices in the medical realm. Modern technology makes diagnostic imaging a safe, precise practice. As a provider of Pittsburgh’s best imaging services, we’re confident that we can offer the most affordable imaging services for your unique needs. North Pittsburgh Imaging Specialists consists of accredited, board-certified radiologists that are ready to illuminate your body, whether it be for exploratory CT scans or prenatal MRI imaging. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment!