• X-Ray

    X-ray exam of stone age tusk

    A couple of days ago I went to see a friend who knows my weakness for X-ray examinations. He gave me a mammoth tusk. At first glance I doubted if there would be any possibility to produce an image because of the estimated high density of this stone age tooth.

    So I decided to try a CT scan. I had some butterflies in my tummy and feared an artistic disaster. Indeed, the first slices emerging from our scanner weren’t much convincing. As a first step of postproduction My technician and I decided to do a volume rendering of the 0.75mm slices. We got a surprisingly good result that showed interesting details of the inner structure of this biological remnant.

    Tip of a mammoth tusk (CT scan, VRT and Photoshop) © Julian Köpke

    A tusk is a tooth of the upper jaw of the mammoth (or elephant). A major blood vessel branching off while running to the tip can easily be seen. The caves on right hand side are assumed to stabilize this life long weapon of a mammoth.

    This tusk has been stone age ivory and consists mostly of calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate.

    As there is no restriction to trading of mammoth ivory there is an increasing amount of siberian stone age ivory emerging to the market.

  • General,  X-Ray

    Anyone can have a mishap

    There are many stops put to a CT-scan, especially when dealing with women in reproductive age. We are always very careful before exposing any patient to radiation. 

    This middle-aged patient with repeatedly nausea and discomfort opposing pregnancy very strict and claiming menstruation 28 days ago underwent some medical examinations including gastroscopy and, eventually, a CT-scan.

    We were prepared for a tumor when scanning the abdomen. We were amazed to find a baby despite many questions about patient’s history before the exam. Maybe, some obesity covered the situation with a veil.

    You can see the bones of the upper and lower extremities, as well as the skull and some parts of the spine. The ossification of knees, feet and hands will take place the next ten years after birth.

    Tumor of the lower abdomen causing nausea © Julian Köpke

    It appears to be discussion-worthy if it’s a boy. Our methods didn’t lead us further on this.

    To me the rotated, inverted and cropped image resembles to cave paintings. These paintings are assumed to be some kind of religious art, reflecting astonishment and grandeur of lost civilizations.

    Certain is, the baby touches its right ear, as it was amazed by itself or reflecting its life. What else than human life is this ?

    Tumor of the lower abdomen causing nausea. Rotated image, inverted gray scale and cropped. © Julian Köpke