Medical X-rays in luggage and TSA screening

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chrisb

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Has anyone carried medical X-rays in luggage? We have some and we are trying to work out if that is why the TSA keep searching that one bag on every flight.

Does anyone know what exposed medical X-rays look like when they're xrayed? I may be over thinking this. :)
 

moa999

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I believe the old films contain some amount of silver, which as a metal will be a blocker to the x-ray, ie it won't see through the bag.
Thus you are likely to get additional screening.
 

vetrade

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Has anyone carried medical X-rays in luggage? We have some and we are trying to work out if that is why the TSA keep searching that one bag on every flight.

Does anyone know what exposed medical X-rays look like when they're xrayed? I may be over thinking this. :)

X-ray films have a plastic base with a surface coating of an emulsion which, as moa999 said, contains silver bromide (maybe there is some other silver halide used nowadays for all I know). Even though the silver bromide on each film is only small in amount it's conceivable that the modern screening machines can detect it especially if you have several X-rays stacked together, multiplying the effect.

Why not just ask the screener if you get checked again?
 

chrisb

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Why not just ask the screener if you get checked again?

They're quite large so are going in a checked bag, resulting in that bag and only that bag getting checked every single flight since we got them. We don't know until we get the inspection card in the bag.

Thanks for the explanation of what they're made of. We plan to move them to another bag to see if the search moves, and if I get motivated ill see if I can pack them in carry on, but they're probably too big to fit.
 

chrisb

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Why not digitise them?

They weren't planned. We got them after an accident earlier in the trip and have been carting them around since.

Its not a big deal, more a curiosity around whether they were the cause of the constant searches. I'll give the TSA one thing, they're consistent. Maybe it shows up as a giant solid blob that's hard to miss.
 

medhead

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The standard these days is to have the x-rays put onto a cd/DVD. I'd be surprised if they are actual films in a first world country. As I understand modern diagnostic services have been full digital for about 10 years.
 

Rebekkap

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The standard these days is to have the x-rays put onto a cd/DVD. I'd be surprised if they are actual films in a first world country. As I understand modern diagnostic services have been full digital for about 10 years.

Really? I had chest x-rays in Melbourne earlier this year and got old fashioned looking films!
 
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medhead

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Really? I had chest x-rays in Melbourne earlier this year and got old fashioned looking films!

I've just had a chat to a radiographer. They laser print onto a bit of plastic. So it looks the same but doesn't go through a film development process requiring the use of silver on the film. So if it was a major hospital/radiology practice I'd say it was a laser print version.

There may be some smaller practices out there that still use film, but given QA requirements for x-ray equipment, I'd be surprised if they don't have digital capable machines.
 

Rebekkap

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I've just had a chat to a radiographer. They laser print onto a bit of plastic. So it looks the same but doesn't go through a film development process requiring the use of silver on the film. So if it was a major hospital/radiology practice I'd say it was a laser print version.

There may be some smaller practices out there that still use film, but given QA requirements for x-ray equipment, I'd be surprised if they don't have digital capable machines.

huh! It looked just the same. It was a big hospital so probably doing as you said - laser printing. Doesn't explain the OP's luggage checks then.
 

medhead

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huh! It looked just the same. It was a big hospital so probably doing as you said - laser printing. Doesn't explain the OP's luggage checks then.

Yeah, they look pretty much the same. main difference being how the image is "attached" to the plastic film. Maybe the "films" just look like a large relatively homogeneous item that might mask other items in the luggage.
 

legroom

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The standard these days is to have the x-rays put onto a cd/DVD. I'd be surprised if they are actual films in a first world country. As I understand modern diagnostic services have been full digital for about 10 years.

That's correct.

However, almost all imaging now comes with a CD/DVD and the images either on paper or films.

The OP may not be aware of the "blocking effects" of the films so they did not ask for the CD/DVD and/or a paper version of the images.

Some "routine" basic XRs like chest or limbs remains on films with no CD/DVD (only 1, or 3 images) while most (not all) Ultrasound / CT are reported as CD/DVD and (mostly) paper images.

MRI remains on films (some 10-15 sheets of them) the last time I looked at them this week.

While relatively large, XR could be rolled into a tube (say 40 cm long) for carry-on carriage if the OP wants to avoid TSA bag checks.
 
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