Radiographs (or roentgenographs, named after the discoverer of X-rays, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen) are produced by transmitting X-rays through a patient. A capture device then converts them into visible light, which then forms an image for review and diagnosis and health management. The original, and still common, imaging procedure uses silver-impregnated films. Roentgen discovered X-rays on November 8,1895 and received the first Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery in 1901.
In film-screen radiography, an X-ray tube generates a beam of X-rays which is aimed at the patient. The X-rays that pass through the patient are filtered through a device called an X-ray filter, to reduce scatter and noise, and strike an undeveloped film, which is held tightly to a screen of light-emitting phosphors in a light-tight cassette. The film is then developed chemically and an image appears on the film. Film-screen radiography is being replaced by digital radiography (DR), in which the X-rays strike a plate of sensors that converts the signals generated into digital information which is transmitted and converted into an image displayed on a computer screen.
Plain radiography was the only imaging modality available during the first 50 years of radiology. Due to its availability, speed, and lower costs compared to other modalities, radiography is often the first-line test of choice in radiologic diagnosis. Also despite the large amount of data in CT scans, MR scans and other digital-based imaging, there are many disease entities in which the classic diagnosis is obtained by plain radiographs. Examples include various types of arthritis and pneumonia, bone tumors (especially benign bone tumors), fractures, congenital skeletal anomalies, etc