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How does an X-ray machine work?

An X-ray machine is basically just a camera. Where a camera uses visible light, however, an X-ray machine uses X-rays to expose the film.

X-rays, like light, are electromagnetic waves. But X-rays are more energetic so they can - to varying degrees - penetrate many materials. When the X-rays hit film, they expose it just as light would. Bone, fat, muscle, tumors and other types of masses all absorb X-rays at different levels. The image on the film, therefore, lets doctors see different (distinct) structures inside the body.


Picture of xray

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.