Skiagraphy (rarely sciagraphy) is an archaic term for taking a radiograph and this usage (see below) appears to have first been proposed by Sydney Rowland in 1896 1. Skiagrapher was the term used for a radiographer until the end of the First World War. In the early days, a skiagram, (or skiagraph), was the term used for a radiograph.
Although roentgenogram or radiograph quickly became accepted terms, the best term to use for an x-ray film was controversial for many years, as seen by a paper from the British Medical Journal in 1936 2. Interestingly the term skiagram is still frequently used in India, as articles from 2017 can attest 3,4!
Example of usage:
- Archives of Clinical Skiagraphy, was the ultimate forerunner publication to the British Journal of Radiology.
History and etymology
Skiagraphy literally means "shadow writing" and is derived, via French and Latin, from the Ancient Greek skia (σκια) meaning shadow, and grapho (γραφω) meaning writing. The word seemed to practitioners to be particularly apt in the early days of the new specialty in view of the blurriness of the images 5.
However the word predates the discovery of x-rays. In its original usage, which is still (rarely) used today it refers to the accurate rendering of shadows in art or science. At one time it also had a technical application in architecture, although this usage is now obsolete.
- 1. Bishop PJ. The evolution of the British Journal of Radiology. The British journal of radiology. 46 (550): 833-6. doi:10.1259/0007-1285-46-550-833 - Pubmed
- 2. McGrigor DB. Training in radiology. BMJ. 1936;1:475-475. doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.1.3922.475.
- 3. Sachdeva K, Kaul V. Correlation of Radiological and Endoscopic Findings in Patients Presenting with Dysphagia. Indian journal of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery : official publication of the Association of Otolaryngologists of India. 69 (1): 72-76. doi:10.1007/s12070-016-1047-4 - Pubmed
- 4. Chaudhary R, Deshmukh A, Singh K, Biswas R. Is size really a contraindication for laparoscopic resection of giant adrenal myelolipomas?. BMJ case reports. doi:10.1136/bcr-2016-215048 - Pubmed
- 5. Ronald L. Eisenberg. Radiology. (1992) ISBN: 9780815130529