X Ray Technology In The Form Of The Barium Swallow Used In Speech And Language Pathology

1250 words - 5 pages

X-ray technology is used in the field of Speech Pathology for the treatment of dysphagia through procedures like the Barium Swallow. Throughout this paper, we will look at what this form of technology is, the history of x-rays and x-ray technology, and how it is used by Speech and Language Pathologists today, specifically through the use of a procedure called a Barium Swallow.
X-rays are defined as powerful invisible rays that can pass through various objects and that make it possible to see inside things, such as the human body. (Merriam-Webster). Therefore, X-radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation, with a wavelength between .01 and 10 nanometers. These wavelengths are shorter ...view middle of the document...

In 1895, Rector Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen accidentally found an image cast from his cathode ray generator, which is now known as an electron beam. He discovered that the rays were not affected by the magnetic field, making them pass through many kinds of matter. He was able to take a picture of his wife’s hand; where you could see the bones of her finger and even her wedding band. This was a huge technological breakthrough, and the photograph caused major uproar around the world. Rontgen named this new form of radiation X-radiation, with the X standing for “Unknown.” At first, the public believed x-rays to be some sort of supernatural phenomenon. Eventually, however, this new form of entertainment was easily accessible to the public, and became more widely accepted. In October of 1896, people in London could use this new technology to see inside their bodies for only two pence at a local park. (Natale, 2011, p. 347-348) Entertainment was the main use for this new technology until World War 1, although the medical use had been present since discovery.
While all types of medical professionals use x-rays every day, Speech and Language Pathologists use a specific form of this technology, called a barium swallow. A barium swallow is a procedure that uses x-rays to examine the upper gastrointestinal tract. Barium swallows can help diagnose cancers, ulcers, esophageal issues, some causes of intestine inflammation, and swallowing problems. Since a major part of a speech-language pathologist’s job consists of the treatment of swallowing disorders, such as dysphagia, this is a very beneficial procedure for the speech and language pathologist to have access to. The easy access to other test results obtained from a barium swallow is also beneficial for the Speech Pathologist, depending on the individual client’s case, because there may be an underlying cause uncovered through this procedure.
This procedure is like any other x-ray, with the patient swallowing a textured barium substance prior to the x-ray examination. Barium is a dry, chalky powder that is mixed with water to form a milkshake-like texture. This substance shows up white on x-rays, and once it is swallowed, barium coats the esophagus. This allows the structures that do not normally show up in an x-ray to be viewed, revealing abnormalities in the swallowing function as well as other areas. Fluoroscopy is used during this procedure, because it allows for the study of moving body structures. A continuous X-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined, and is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail. (hopkinsmedicine.org) This is what allows the radiologist to see the movement of the barium through the...

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