When Superman was first created as a comic book hero, radiology was a fairly new branch of medical science. No one was quite certain how far this field would go, nor if there were any particular concerns with taking x-rays of the human body. Yet, everyone was fascinated by the concept of being able to see into the human body, see what was wrong with it, and be able to fix everything from a broken bone to treating patients for pneumonia. 

Now, radiology has advanced to the point that there are practically a dozen different ways to look inside. Radiologists and radiology specialists are modern day Supermen and Supergirls; they can see and interpret what no one else can. The following examples show just what radiology can do, and how far it has come in the last century.


Ultrasound sends pulse waves through the body. It is most commonly used to provide pictures of a fetus in utero, and make sure the fetus is healthy and thriving. Fifty years ago, you could never do that. You had an OBGYN that just made an educated guess about the sex and age of the fetus based on heart beat and assumed time of conception. Now you even have full color, 3D ultrasound that provides astounding images of your baby before it is born, and it will tell you if you are having a boy or a girl (if you want to know).

In addition to babies in utero, ultrasound is also used to detect things like deep vein thrombosis and kidney stones. The images let doctors know that you have a very serious and painful problem. Then the doctors can create a treatment plan based on what is seen in the ultrasound images.


As if radiological technology was not enough, now the images taken by various radiology machines can be "teleported" to a distant office for a specialist to read. In short, the images are sent over a secure email line. This approach may be used in places where there is no specialist to read the scans; only a technician or doctor that knows how to take the images. It can be quite a lifesaving measure when there is concern about trying to transport a patient long distances to a hospital that has the staff and facilities to assist in a diagnosis. It will not be long before digital conferencing over projected images will become a reality.