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X-ray Unit

Definition

An x-ray unit is the medical equipment used to produce x rays. Because of the risk of over-exposure to x rays, the x-ray unit includes both the machine used for collecting x rays and the protective room within which the x rays are taken and developed.

 
Purpose

Film radiographs, or x rays, are the most widely used means of medical imaging. Radiographs are used to examine bones for fractures, growth abnormalities, and joint dysfunctions. X rays are also used to find abnormal growths in the breasts (mammography), other organs and soft tissues; problems in the gastrointestinal tract; circulatory problems such as clogged arteries and blood clots; and a variety of other ailments. Additionally, radiation therapy to treat cancer is generally performed with x rays.

 
Description

The production of an x-ray image (radiograph) involves three distinct steps: the generation of an x-ray beam, the interaction of that beam with the structures of the patient to be imaged, and the development of the image.

 
Generation of an x-ray beam
Visible light is electromagnetic energy that has characteristics that allow it to be seen by humans. There are many other familiar forms of electromagnetic energy that are not visible to humans. These include radio waves, which permit the transmission of radio signals and the operation of cellular phones; microwaves, which are often used to heat food; and x rays. Each of these forms of light has a characteristic size (wavelength) and speed (frequency) range that defines it. An x-ray beam is an invisible form of light that has a wavelength that is much smaller than visible light and a frequency that is much faster than visible light.