Radiograph

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 24 Mar 2021

A radiograph (or plain radiograph although the word 'plain' is strictly superfluous) is the radiologist's preferred term for the static image generated following the passage of x-rays through the patient. Non-imaging clinicians and the lay population generally use the term "x-ray" to refer to a radiograph, as well as for the radiation itself; e.g. a chest radiograph is often referred to as a chest x-ray.

Radiograph is not used to describe dynamic images, which are usually referred to as fluoroscopic images. Indeed, if spot views or screen grabs are taken as part of a fluoroscopic procedures, the resultant image tends still to be referred to as a fluoroscopic image rather than a radiograph.

Soon after the discovery of x-rays many terms were suggested and used for the radiograph, some of which were later discarded. These include:

Radiograph is also used as a transitive verb, i.e. to take a radiograph of someone or something (as is x-ray).

History and etymology

Radiograph was first recorded in print as a word in 1896 4.

Radiograph derives from Classical roots: "radio-" used as a prefix, is from the Latin word "radius", meaning a ray, and "-graphy" meaning writing or recording something, from the Ancient Greek, graphein (γραφειν) meaning to write 1-3

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