Use of electromagnetic radiation to produce images of internal body structures for diagnosis. X-rays have been used since 1895. Denser tissues, such as bones, absorb more X-rays and show as lighter areas on X-ray film. A contrast medium can be used to highlight soft tissues in still X-ray pictures or can be followed on X-ray motion-picture films as it moves through the body or part of the body to record body processes. In computerized axial tomography, X-rays are focused on specific tissue planes, and a series of such parallel slices of the body are processed by computer to produce a 3-D image. The risks of X-ray exposure are reduced by more precise techniques using lower doses and by use of other imaging techniques. See also angiocardiography; angiography; magnetic resonance imaging; nuclear medicine; positron emission tomography; ultrasound.
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