X rays are electromagnetic radiations with short wavelength . X rays were discovered by a German physicist , W.C. Roentgen  in 1895 ( known as Father of X rays ) , when he  was investigating the conduction of electricity through gases at low pressure in glass tubes , positive electrodes in the tube gave off invisible rays that caused fluorescent screen to glow.

Production of X rays –

X rays are produced when a fast moving electrons possessing kinetic energy are suddenly slowed down or stopped by means of target material .

  • Production of X ray is a process of conversion of energy from one form to another

  • Production of X ray take place in an X ray tube.

A typical X Ray tube consists of :

  1. Cathode – It is a negative terminal of a x ray tube made up of Tunsgten wire which is surrounded by focusing cup. The filament (enclosed with molybdenum cup) is 0.2cm in diameter and 1cm in length. The focusing cup controls the width of electron distribution and directs the electron towards target .

2. Anode – Made of Copper block it is embedded in a small  tungsten plate and is angulated at 15 –  20 degree. It has  a high melting point of 3370 degree Celsius.

3. Glass envelope – A tube insert consists of cathode , anode sealed in a glass enclosure. High vaccum is required within to avoid collision of the gas molecules with the cathode .

4. Tube Housing –  supports, insulates , protects the tube insert from the environment . A special oil is provided surrounding the  tube insert which helps heat conduction and electrical  insulation.

Procedure of  X Rays :

  • It is used for investigation of internal organs and body cavities
  • X ray position are performed in AP ( Antero-posterior) , LAT (lateral) and Oblique view
  • It is done based on the clinician’s investigation requisites
  • Patient’s comfort , especially if pregnant , is to be taken care of
  • Protective Lead gowns are preferred.
  • Fewer investigation / procedures are done with the help of contrast media for better results
  • Metals / jewellery / clothing should be removed and patient is asked to wear hospital gown , positioned on the area of examination.

After care :

  • Usually after X rays are performed patient safely goes back home
  • Fewer X rays/contrast investigation needs observation of about half hour to 2hrs

Indications :

  • For exclusions of fractures, following trauma
  • Assessment of joint or spinal disease
  • Assessment of cardiopulmonary disease
  • Post op and Pre op
  • Dental investigations


  • Usually none .
  • A plain X ray is a low dose examination that is cheap and readily available
  • The small risk of radiations must be weighed against the benefit (dose levels )
  • Pregnancy and Weight of patientX rays play an important role in diagnostic techniques in Medical and Dental sciences . With leaping advancements in technology , there are many modern and state of art imaging techniques available . The humble X ray still remains one of the most sought after simple, affordable &  reliable means of diagnosis by imaging .


Report by ,

Ms. Malavika Jaikeshen

Lecturer , MVM College of  Allied Health Sciences

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