X-rays are a form of radiation, like light or radio waves, that
can be focused into a beam, much like a flashlight beam. Unlike a beam of
light, though, X-rays can pass through most objects, including the human body.
When X-rays strike a piece of photographic film, they can produce
a picture. Dense tissues in the body, such as bones, block (absorb) many of the
X-rays and appear white on an X-ray picture. Less dense tissues, such as
muscles and organs, block fewer of the X-rays (more of the X-rays pass through)
and appear in shades of gray. X-rays that pass only through air appear black on
an X-ray picture.
Many centers are changing from film to using
computers for digital pictures.