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The History of the Utilization of X-Ray and Fluoroscopy in a Battlefield Environment

George Tsoukatos, BPS, RT(R)

*Digital Radiography Product Specialist, Radiology Support Services, Germantown, NY
Address correspondence to: George Tsoukatos, BPS, RT(R), Radiology Support Services, PO Box 215, Germantown, NY 12526. E-mail: radiologytechnique@gmail.com.

Disclosure Statement: The author reports having no significant financial or advisory relationships with corporate organizations related to this activity.

This paper is dedicated to the brave men and women throughout the generations of conflict that have contributed to medical imaging, both in the armed forces and civilian sector during wartime.


From the late 19th century through the 20th century and beyond, war and conflict among both technologically advanced and less sophisticated countries has been commonplace. Wartime causes traumatic injury to combatants as well as civilians. Regardless of the technology used, whether it was mortars in World War I or drones in the current Iraqi-Afghanistan conflict, the end result is still traumatic injury or death. The injured need to be triaged and treated based on the severity of the injury. A key modality for this, regardless of the nation’s technology or lack thereof, is the conventional medical radiography modalities of X-ray or fluoroscopy. The availability and mobility of these modalities have changed over the years, and more recently, transitioned to a digital format. War and medicine seem to coexist in a quagmire; conventional warfare is designed to hurt or cause damage, while the goal of medicine is to heal. In this article, the history of the use of X-ray and fluoroscopy on the battlefield will be reviewed, as well as its evolution. Future uses of and changes to these modalities will also be discussed.

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