How Does an X-ray See Inside You?
The X-ray picture a doctor uses to see inside your body is really a shadow picture of your bones and organs. X-rays are a kind of invisible ray. They are related to light rays, but X-rays are more penetrating than an ordinary light ray.
To produce an X-ray picture, an X-ray machine produces a very concentrated beam of electrons onto a metal film. The beam travels through the air until it comes in contact with our body tissues.
Soft tissue, such as skin and organs, cannot absorb the high-energy rays, and the beam passes through them. Dense materials inside our bodies, like bones, absorb the radiation.
They can pass through most solid objects. When X-rays pass through your body, they cast a shadow pattern of your bones and other interior parts on a piece of X-ray film, which is then developed much like the film you use in a camera.
Black areas on an X-ray represent areas where the X-rays have passed through soft tissues. White areas show where denser tissues, such as bones, have absorbed the X-rays. The X-ray photograph helps a doctor locate broken bones and diagnose certain diseases.