Is there any point to keeping old X-rays?

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Is there any point to keeping old X-rays?

Post by Caduceus » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:13 am

I have an old x-ray of my chest/lungs from a decade ago. It shows that everything is normal, so is there any point in keeping this as part of my health records, or can I discard it? Would there be any medical use if in the future something happens, and this old x-ray can serve as the normal baseline?

Is there any way of scanning an old x-ray? Then maybe I can throw away the original, which is fairly large.

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Re: Is there any point to keeping old X-rays?

Post by blueman457 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:08 am

If you have a x-ray in film it might be worth more as an antique!

But to answer your question, it isn’t worth keeping the film for medical purposes. It was normal, then just make note of it. I don’t even know if primary care physician offices come with light boxes to look at x rays any more as everything had moved to digital.

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Re: Is there any point to keeping old X-rays?

Post by tyrnup13 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:31 am

If you ever have another chest x-ray and there is a pulmonary nodule (many reasons for this), the radiologist might want a comparison exam to determine whether the nodule is new or stable. Since your old study is reportedly normal, the radiologist would then know that the nodule is a new finding and the workup could proceed from there.

That being said, I would just get rid of an old x-ray because the clutter is not worth it.

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Re: Is there any point to keeping old X-rays?

Post by garzjoh » Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:16 am

Generally speaking, I save all 'pictures' (e.g x-rays, MRI, cat, pet, ...). I also only go to places that provide digital copies too.

Every picture is a baseline that could speed up future diagnosis when trying to rule out benign anomalies.

For what little space it takes up, I would save them all.

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Re: Is there any point to keeping old X-rays?

Post by Katietsu » Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:29 am

Yes, it could be helpful as tyrnup13 described. You will just need to decide if the small chance of it being helpful is worth it to you vs wanting to rid yourself of clutter.

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Re: Is there any point to keeping old X-rays?

Post by desiderium » Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:49 am

Doubt it would be useful given the age
Quandaries on chest X-rays are for the most part resolved with CT scans, rather than referring to an ancient image
Xray films can be recycled, might check with a radiology department to see if they want it.

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Re: Is there any point to keeping old X-rays?

Post by WWJBDo » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:00 am

You can take a photo of it with your camera so you have something.
Tape the film in front of a computer monitor already set to a blank white page ( ) and use your camera. Take a picture and record the date of the x-ray. The quality won't be anywhere near the film, but at least you have something more than simply saying "I had a normal xray."

Many hospitals have a hard time even finding a place to look at regular x-rays anymore. If you go to a chiropractor, dentist or physician who still takes film x-rays, you should strongly consider bolting for another provider. Digital technology is so much better and quite a bit less radiation as well.

While there are companies that will do bulk silver reclamation for hospital film libraries, a single film is not worth it.
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." Upton Sinclair

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Re: Is there any point to keeping old X-rays?

Post by Arinbjorn » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:44 am

I take x rays and also CT scans in a major level 1 trauma hospital.

The only value is as a novelty for yourself. If anything arises with your health, digital x ray and CT are superior - images can be manipulated through different "filters" to emphasize certain tissue types, magnified, inverted, etc.

We use x ray as a base line to see if something is suspicious enough to get a CT or MRI, basically.

My brother has an old film x ray of his guitar that I did as a school project a long time ago.

I train new grads on the job in x ray and CT. X ray film isn't even taught to them any more in school, even theoretically. They don't know how to take an x ray using film. Or process it in a dark room. The boards exams don't ask anything relevant to film x ray any more.

Silver content is nil unless you have several 55 gallon drums of old films.

So keep it as a novelty - it's you!

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Re: Is there any point to keeping old X-rays?

Post by Edward Joseph » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:13 pm

Can't speak to chest X-rays, but I do have a recent digital file of the x-rays of my teeth & jaw I got from the dentist. It's morbid, but I gave it to my parents in the incredibly unlikely event they were needed to identify my body. I guess I've just watched too much C.S.I. over the years. :)

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