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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a medical and veterinary discipline dealing with the theory and practice of using X-radiation to examine healthy and sick human beings and animals.

Roentgenology developed at the turn of the 20th century after the discovery of X rays in 1895. Pioneers in roentgenologic research in Russia included A. S. Popov, who in January 1896 apparently made the country’s first X-ray tube and performed a medical examination, V. N. Tonkov, who in February 1896 reported on using X rays in studying a skeleton, which laid the foundation for radiological anatomy, A. K. Ianovskii, who in February 1896 commenced systematic roentgenologic examinations of patients in the Military Medical Academy, and I. R. Tarkhanov, who was one of the first to demonstrate the biological effects of X-radiation. Other pioneers in roentgenologic research included the Austrian G. Holzknecht, the Germans H. Albers-Schönberg and A. Köhler, the Americans C. Beck, E. Caldwell, and W. Morton, the Frenchman A. Béclère, and the Swede G. Forssell. Other major contributors to the development of roentgenology as a scientific medical discipline included the Russian physicians S. P. Grigor’ev, M. I. Nemenov, and S. A. Reinberg, the Frenchman M. Obray, the Swede A. O. Akerlund, the German H. Berg, and the Americans J. Case and G. Pfahler.

Roentgenology has been instrumental in solving many problems in human morphology, physiology, and pathology and in the development of the public health system. It is currently a principal method for diagnosing diseases.

Progress in roentgenology in the second half of the 20th century is related to the scientific and technological revolution, that is, to the development of electron-optical intensifiers of X-ray pictures, roentgentelevision, devices for high-speed X-ray photography and catheterization of blood vessels, and videotaping equipment. Modern roentgenology is confronted with the need to improve medical X-ray technology and examination methods and to develop the roentgen diagnosis of diseases, or specifically, the analysis of X-ray images. Automatic devices for the analysis of roentgenograms and fluorograms of different organs must be perfected, as well as clinical angiography and lymphography. Electroroentgenography should be introduced into clinical practice, and the protection of patients and technicians during a roentgenologic examination should be improved.

The founders of veterinary roentgenology in the USSR were G. V. Domrachev and A. I. Vishniakov. G. G. Vokken conducted research in X-ray osteology, anthropology, and angiology and founded developmental and comparative radiological anatomy. The Kazan and Petrograd (Leningrad) veterinary institutes became the centers of veterinary roentgenology in 1923. The institute in Kazan studied the roentgen diagnosis of diseases of the internal organs in domestic animals, while the institute in Petrograd specialized in bone and joint diseases. Soviet veterinary roentgenologists, such as I. G. Sharabrin, have studied many aspects of the diagnosis of farm-animal diseases caused by a disturbance of mineral metabolism. V. A. Lipin, K. F. Muzafarov, and others have studied diseases of the respiratory and digestive organs in large and small livestock, and A. L. Khokhlov has studied fractures of the bones of the extremities.

Roentgenology has often been associated with radiology. This is particularly reflected in the names of institutes, for example, roentgenologic and radiological institutes, and the names of scientific societies, congresses, periodicals, and university subdepartments. The term “radiology” is used in many countries to designate roentgenology. The world’s first specialized institute of roentgenology and radiology was founded in Petrograd in 1918; it is now called the Central Scientific Research Institute of Roentgenology and Radiology of the Ministry of Public Health of the USSR. Similar institutes were subsequently founded in other cities, including Kharkov, Moscow, and Kiev. In 1974 there were eight institutes of roentgenology and medical radiology and four institutes of medical radiology and oncology in the USSR.

In 1934 a standard organizational structure for the roentgenologic service was established with X-ray centers, which subsequently became X-ray stations and X-ray departments. A chief roentgenologist was appointed in every republic, krai, oblast, and large city in the country to administrate the network of X-ray facilities and to assist roentgenologists with scientific methods and equipment. Chief roentgenologists are also available for consultations with roentgenologists.

Roentgenology is taught by the subdepartments of roentgenology and radiology of medical institutes and university medical departments. Specialized training is provided by large hospitals and scientific research institutes, by medical institutes in their internship and postgraduate programs, and by institutes for the advanced training of physicians. A course in veterinary roentgenology is provided by the subdepartments of the diagnosis or therapy of noninfectious diseases of veterinary higher educational institutions and departments. There is no single system of roentgenologic training outside the USSR. In most countries roentgenology is taught during two- or three-year curriculums by large roentgenologic divisions.

Soviet roentgenologists belong to the All-Union Scientific Society of Roentgenologists and Radiologists, which was founded in 1919 as the Russian Association of Roentgenologists and Radiologists. The first congress of Russian roentgenologists was held in 1916 in Moscow. In 1974 the All-Union Scientific Society of Roentgenologists and Radiologists had over 10,000 members. It joined the International Society of Radiology in 1969. International congresses have been held every three or four years since 1925, when the first congress was held in London.

In the USSR, studies on roentgenology have been published since 1920 in the journal Vestnik rentgenologii i radiologii (Bulletin of Roentgenology and Radiology). The most important roentgenologic periodicals outside the USSR include Acta Radiologica (Stockholm, since 1921), American Journal of Roentgenology, Radium Therapy and Nuclear Medicine (Springfield, since 1929; called the American Journal of Roentgenology from 1913 to 1922, when it was published in New York), British Journal of Radiology (London, since 1896), Fortschritte aufdem Gebiete der Röntgenstrahlen und der Nuklearmedizin (Stuttgart, since 1897), Journal de radiologie, d’électrologie et de médecine nucléaire (Paris, since 1914), Nippon Acta Radiologica (Toyko, since 1940), Polski Przeglqd Radiologii i Medycyny Nuclearnej (Warsaw, since 1926), Radiologe (Berlin, since 1961), Radiology (Syracuse, since 1929), and the international journal of the socialist countries Radiologia Diagnostica (Berlin, since 1960).


Ocherki razvitiia meditsinskoi rentgenologii. Edited by S. A. Reinberg. Moscow, 1948.
Materialy po istorii rentgenologii ν SSSR. Edited by S. A. Reinberg, Moscow, 1948.
Lindenbraten, L. D. “Ob integratsii meditsinskikh nauk i spetsializatsii rentgenologov.” Vestnik rentgenologii i radiologii, 1967, no. 4.
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Grigg, E. R. N. The Trail of the Invisible Light. Springfield, I11., 1965.
Young, C. G., and J. J. Likos. Medical Specialty Terminology, vol. 2: X-Ray and Nuclear Medicine. St. Louis, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.