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May 14, 2011 7:55 PM   Subscribe

What do you do with old x-rays?

Earlier today, I came into possession of approximately 22 of my childhood x-rays. While it brought back plenty of memories, I'm not really sure what to do with them. I don't really have a primary physician (my insurance has changed several times over the last 10 years) and even if I did, I can't see where he/she would want them or what they'd do with them.

Question 1: Would a doctor ever really need to see the x-rays from the skull fracture when I was 8? The various broken/dislocated toes? The shots of my 19 year old spine that shows a bone deformity I apparently don't have anymore? I've over 40 so I can't imagine why they'd be important.

Question 2: Can old x-rays be copied onto a flash drive or is that even worth bothering over?

Question 3: What kind of interesting thing could I do with them if they aren't useful for medical purposes?
posted by jaimystery to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Well, depending on how interesting they are, I could see framing a few and hanging them someplace. (although, without backlighting, I'm not sure how well that would work.)

Depending on the size of the xray, most copy machines now will scan to a pdf file.

Or... donate them to a science teacher....
posted by tomswift at 8:03 PM on May 14, 2011

Best answer: I went to a party at a house once where they had put old X-Rays inside the plastic panels on their fluorescent lights in their groovy basement rec room.
posted by goggie at 8:10 PM on May 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

I racked up a bunch of brain MRIs as a teenager, most of which I didn't need to keep. I gave a pile of them to my high school anatomy teacher; as far as I know, they're still at the school, entertaining the young'uns.
posted by phunniemee at 8:20 PM on May 14, 2011

Well, if you're interested in doing something out of the ordinary with them, there's always this...
posted by flod logic at 8:39 PM on May 14, 2011

You could made them into record albums; finding a Recordio isn't too difficult; I own three. (previously)
posted by AzraelBrown at 8:39 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was going to suggest lampshades, or mayber a funky room divider.

If you aren't interested in keeping them, maybe donate to an artists co-op or something?

Xrays are digitized nowadays.
posted by annsunny at 8:56 PM on May 14, 2011

If you have one that is dark enough you can watch a solar eclipse with it.....
posted by bjgeiger at 9:32 PM on May 14, 2011

A hoop skirt covered with x-rays and lit from within really impressed me a few years ago at 2nd Skin at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Here is a photo; unfortunately it is too brightly lit to see any of the images, which were beautiful and eerie in darkness.
posted by drdanger at 10:12 PM on May 14, 2011

An old roommate found some x-rays and taped them to the sliding door of our living room, which faced the street. It was kind of cool because when I was walking home, I could tell if someone else was in the living room already if there was a glowing skeleton silhouette illuminated from within.
posted by pluot at 12:12 AM on May 15, 2011

We gave a whole lot to our kids' preschool - they taped them to windows and the kids loved looking at them.
posted by tracicle at 12:27 AM on May 15, 2011

There is a fair amount of silver content in x-rays. Hospitals will accept old ones as donations for recycling.
posted by yclipse at 3:40 AM on May 15, 2011

I bought an old light up picture frame at a garage sale and put my mri in it. I hang it up around halloween.

You could cut them up and make a mobile.

Put them on craigslist as art supplies.

Solicit someone on etsy to make a lamp out of them.

Cut them up to make a puzzle.

Make some sort of valentine days card for your sweetie (I love you in my very bones?)
posted by vitabellosi at 4:20 AM on May 15, 2011

Old x-rays can make a decent stencil for spray paint.
posted by rube goldberg at 9:03 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm in NP school and we use old x-rays to bring to community health fairs. The skull fracture one is the sort of thing we'd use to show kids how thin their skulls are. So a nursing or medical school (or even public health) might be able to use them if you don't want to do crafts yourself.
posted by cobaltnine at 3:28 PM on May 15, 2011

I bet a preschool or elementary school in your area would love them.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:33 AM on May 16, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers
A coworker is organizing a charity haunted house for his son's school this fall & said he'd be happy to have them.
posted by jaimystery at 6:42 PM on May 16, 2011

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