We could get really in-depth trying to explain how X-rays work, but you probably don’t want to hear it and frankly, we still don’t completely understand it. We do know a dude named Wilhelm Rontgen discovered/invented X-rays in 1901 after years of working on similar inventions. Maybe not exciting work, but he got a Nobel Prize, which is more than you have.
The cool part is that you can see through stuff. Yeah, we all wish the X-ray vision portrayed in science fiction movies of the 1950s were true and they made millions selling “X-ray Glasses” but unfortunately, the technology to see through a person’s clothing, yet not see through their skin still hasn’t been developed yet. Why are we wasting our time on cancer and space travel when this mystery still needs to be solved?
X-rays are certainly helpful when it comes to figuring out just where a bone has broken or where a tumor may be hiding, but they’ve also provided a lot of “Well isn’t that something?” moments when the film has been developed over the years. Here, we present you with some of our favorites, none of which have been altered. There are a lot of fake X-rays out there on the Internet. These are legit. Enjoy 15 Shocking X-Rays You Won’t Believe Are Real
15. Do I have something on my face?
You know that the liquor was good and the brawl was even better when it takes hours before you realize that you’ve had a giant knife sticking out of your head. A 39-year-old Brazilian taxi driver, Juacelo Nunes de Oliveira, got into a bar fight in 2015 and was stabbed four times. Three of them were in his torso, with the final blow to his head. The knife got lodged in his skull with the blade running behind his eye and down to his jaw bone according to doctors who said if the wound had been even fractions of a centimeter different it likely would have clipped his olfactory and optic nerves leaving him without senses of smell or sight. How did he miss the fact the knife was there? Doctors said it was likely drunkenness coupled with adrenaline and the shock of being stabbed multiple times. He was transported from the local hospital to one 60 miles away where an almost three hour long operation was performed to remove the blade. He spent five days in the hospital recovering.
14. Breaking Up is Hard to Do
We can’t imagine a tougher decision facing a parent than deciding if it’s worth the gamble to try and let doctor separate your siamese twin babies. If you don’t and they survive, their quality of life will be almost nothing as they live in the very deep end of the “born different” pool. But, most die of medical complications anyway. If you try to have them separated, statistically one almost always dies and both usually have health issues. But, after living in the Philadelphia hospital where they were born for the first nine months of their life, Shellie and Greg Tucker decided to let doctors try and surgically separate their daughters Allison and Amelia Tucker on November 7, 2012. The girls were joined in the lower chest and abdomen and shared a pericardium and liver, but doctors worked magic in seven hours that day. Now, the five-year-old twins live what doctors say are “full, healthy and independent lives.”
13. Sir, we’re going to need you to step out of line
When TSA screeners recently failed to catch 75% of planted prohibited items in a test, it made us wonder why we’re stuck standing in line for so many hours when we’re trying to catch our plane. Knowing we’re being kept safe is one thing. Knowing we’re just wasting our time is another. It’s hard to blame them though, looking at thousands of suitcases a day must get mind-numbing. Still, when you see something like this go by on the conveyer belt, it should raise a red flag. Our favorite suitcase bomb story is about 20 years old now, but it comes from those crazy Russians during the Cold War. After the former Soviet Union fell and an inventory was done of all the existing bombs, there was a scary admission when it came to suitcase bombs. The once top chief of national security testified that the country “lost” up to 100 1-kiloton suitcase bombs, an assertion that was backed-up by several other top former Soviet officials. Whoops.
12. It’s just meant to be a cute X-ray
So you know how there’s that IT guy who has absolutely no sense of humor, irony or humanity when it comes to the technology infrastructure of your school or workplace? Those people exist everywhere, even in the world of radiology. What we have here is an X-ray, likely taken by a student radiologist that is sweet in its intentions to the naked eye, but poor in its execution to an expert. Clearly, there is a child with some kind of arm injury who was probably scared to have an X-ray done, so either the student, or a parent was allowed to hold the child’s hands and a Peppa Pig toy was allowed to join in for the X-ray. Simple, cute, sweet. Yet it you listen to radiologists debate this X-ray online, you’ll read about how the student screwed things up by letting somebody touch the child’s wrists, how they should have done each arm independent of the other and didn’t position either arm correctly. It’s always the experts who ruin everything.
11. Gimme A High Six!
Considering how many people you see every day, it’s shocking how many were probably born with an extra finger. The condition is known as postaxial polydactyly and while usually just a tiny nub, sometimes results in a fully functioning extra finger, as seen in this X-ray. According to scientists in the United States, this happens in 1 out of 1,339 births of white children and 1 in 143 births in African Americans. Most of the time, doctors suggest the extra digit is removed almost immediately and the child grows up only knowing they had an extra finger if family members tell them. Aside from annoyances like needing specially-made gloves, those who are left to keep the extra finger usually lead completely normal lives, although complications can sometimes arise when an extra thumb instead of finger is present. Actor Taye Diggs, Reggae artist Jimmy Cliff and professional baseball player Antonio Alfonseca were all born with extra fingers.
10. If it looks good, it must taste good
When a two-year-old swallows something tiny, you understand how the parents could have missed it. The kid is newly mobile. They’re new at the parenting thing. The child is too young to understand not to ingest something that isn’t food. We all make mistakes. Thankfully, it’s usually not a big deal. But then there was the case of Haley Lents of Indiana. Her parents were forced to rush her to the hospital after she swallowed 30 foreign objects: 20 steel balls and 10 magnets from a Magnetix toy set. Being magnets and steel, they attracted to each other inside of Haley and tore her intestines to bits, making emergency surgery a must. Haley said the toys looked like candy. And in case you’re wondering, Haley was eight years old at the time.
9. Not a total loss…we were told
Looking at it on its own, you’d probably think “Why in the world does something like this need an X-ray? It’s a complete loss!” You might be shocked to hear that’s not necessarily the case. Despite the severely mangled nature of the bones, this X-ray was taken to find out what the nature of the of ligaments, tendons and muscles were to figure out if anything was salvageable after this person, a soldier, was struck by an RPG in heavy combat. According to reports, one of the man’s hands was lost while the other was saved, although mobility was severely limited. We don’t know what the hands and arms looked like, but it’s amazing to think doctors thought there was even a chance of saving anything and then getting the job done.
8. Her heart’s in the right place
Certainly you’ve heard the overused phrase “it’s what’s on the inside that counts” but as you can tell based on this before and after X-ray, sometimes it’s better that you have less on the inside. This is an X-ray showing a woman who was obese who had gastric bypass surgery by which the stomach is greatly reduced in size to a tiny fraction of what it originally was. The idea is that by not being able to eat as much as before, weight will be lost. In the long-term, it only works with about half the people who undergo the surgery because what is ultimately needed is a complete lifestyle change. It’s the same reason most people never can stick to diets, or after they are successful on one for a short while end up back at the same weight. Hopefully whoever this person is ended up staying with the figure they got to on the right.
7. You may be addicted to texting if…
So what happens when you don’t use drugs, nor sell them, but want to fit in with the rest of your homies in prison? Smuggle whatever else you can…wherever else you can. In the case of this criminal, who was one of four prisoners held in the Zacatecoluca prison in San Salvador who were members of the Mara Salvatrucha street gang, you get a phone into the big house. This very violent gang is actually very involved in the drug trade and was likely planning on using the phone to relay messages about drug smuggling to the outside world. Along with this prisoner, who was found holding the phone in his lower intestine, other members of the gang were found having crammed spare SIM chips and a charge up their butts. Not having to put phones up your rear end is just another good reason to follow the law.
6. Where did I leave those keys?
Have you ever not been able to find the car keys and you swear you’ve looked everywhere? You checked up the car seat. You looked in every jacket pocket and in the couch cushions. Well, for this unlucky pet owner, apparently his keys smelled like gravy because Fido decided they’d make a great mid-morning snack. We wonder just how long it took before a trip to the vet seemed like a good idea to find out if that weird bump on the side of the dog was the keys or if the dog’s owner had one of those keychains that beeped until you find them. Imagine if the inside of this poor dog beeped until the keys could be removed. Whoever the vet tech was who got this X-ray, we bet they thought to themselves “Oh yeah, I know this is supposed to be confidential, but I’m totally sharing this X-ray with everybody on my Twitter.”
5. Jesus Christ, the statue has real teeth!
It’s not completely uncommon for statues from early centuries, especially those created as idols for worship to be created with wooden or stone teeth, even if they weren’t visible from the outside. However Mexican restoration experts were shocked in 2014 when they took an X-ray of an 18th Century statue of Jesus Christ and found eight human teeth in perfect condition. The statue, whose name is translated to “The Lord of Patience” is just under 4-feet-tall and came from a church about 30 miles north of Mexico City. While some hardcore religious types at the time said it was a miracle, experts said that the teeth were probably a donation from somebody at the time the statue was made hoping to get in the good graces of the deity. They said in the past, churchgoers were known to donate their hair to make wigs for figures of saints displayed in churches.
4. Better than nothing
“We’ve implanted a device” always sounds space-age and ominous, but in the case of nine patients who agreed to a trial at a German university in 2013, the phrase “We’ve implanted a device” meant that their vision came back to various degrees. The patients were all similar in that they had suffered diseases where they had gone blind over time because of retina degeneration and at the time of the operation 8 out of 9 could still detect some light, but could not tell what direction it was coming from. Their retinas were implanted with tiny 3×3 millimeter squares containing photodiodes that sent electrical impulses to the brain. The entire set-up can be seen in the X-ray above. The image seen by the brain is said to be like a pixilated version of what the image you or I would see actually looks like. Testing on these kinds of implants continues to this day at various universities throughout the world.
3. Nailed it
This is one of those X-rays that nobody doubts is real and there are plenty of people who have nails in their head and have been X-rayed, but nobody seems to have the definitive story about how this guy end up with a nail in such a strange position in his head. It’s not like he works at a circus sideshow and does one of those “Watch me drive this spike into my head through my nose” acts because the entry point of this nail is not the guy’s nose. It’s the roof of his mouth. And there’s no way that he could just casually hammer a nail. He had to have taken a high-powered nail gun, opened his mouth, and fired. Was it a suicide attempt or just a clumsy roofing contractor? We can’t say for sure, but there are so many easier, less creative, higher-odds-of-success ways to end things if you make that (incorrect) decision. Maybe it’s better there are just some things we don’t know the answers about.
2. So that’s what’s going on in there
We don’t know too much about guns, but the idea that there is a little machine that you put a pointed piece of metal inside of, pull a trigger and then in less than a tenth of a second, there is small explosion and that piece of metal has penetrated whatever the machine was pointed at is kind of impressive. We’ll save the debate of whether guns are good or bad for another time, but they are fascinating pieces of machinery and this X-ray confirms just how interesting they are behind all of the metal that hide their inner workings. This particular variety of firearm is known as a IMI Desert Eagle pistol and is a semi-automatic handgun. Since 2010, it has been manufactured in Minnesota, although prior to that it was made in Maine.
1. A new hip in a faraway land
Instead of paying $40,000 for a hip replacement in the United States, 40-year-old American endurance athlete decide to go to India and pay $7,800 for what is known as a Birmingham Hip Resurfacing so he could continue to compete as an athlete at a high-level. The operation, which he wrote about for GearJunkie.com, took place in May 2016. Since he’s a self-employed athlete, cheap health insurance isn’t easy to come by, so he decided to make the trek to India to save a few dollars. He was also able to play a bigger role in planning his recovery, not only taking part in yoga exercises by day three, but being up and walking nearly a mile a week after his operation to his doctor’s shock. By the time he wrote the article for the website in October 2016, he said the operation was a distant memory and there had been no ill effects going to a foreign country to get the procedure.