X-rays were first discovered by Roentgen in 1895 and went into widespread use for medical purposes very soon afterwards.
Recent years have seen an explosion of development in medical imaging with the availability of complex ultrasound, CT and MRI scanning.
Even plain x-rays have evolved and instead of being printed on film are now more commonly viewed as digital images that can be manipulated on a computer workstation and sent around and between hospitals or around the world on computer networks such as PACS (picture archiving and communications systems).
Ordinary X-rays include those of the chest, abdomen and limbs as well as X-ray based techniques such intravenous urograms and barium enemas. The most widely used method of examining the small bowel is with a barium examination.