Uses for Beryllium in Medicine
Advances in imaging equipment, diagnostics and laser medicine have been enabled by the strength and stability of this versatile metal.
The special properties of beryllium are essential to medical technologies that save and enhance lives.
Improving imaging. Because it is strong, stable, can handle elevated levels of heat resistance and is highly transparent to x-rays, beryllium, in thin foil form, has long been critical to the operation of medical and scientific x-ray equipment. Beryllium foil provides the window through which tissue-penetrating x-rays are focused, while maintaining the vacuum inside the x-ray tube generator.
Enabling Lower Levels of radiation. Beryllium foil remains indispensible for high-resolution medical radiography, including CT scanning and mammography. Beryllium in newer generation mammography equipment enables a lower radiation dose scan with significantly finer tumor resolution, enabling breast cancer detection at its early, most treatable stages.
Increasing strength and stability. As imaging technology advances, beryllium continues to meet the need for x-ray tube windows with greater strength, stability, heat resistance and x-ray transparency.
Miniaturizing optical lasers. Medical lasers made with beryllia ceramics help ophthalmologists to restore or improve eyesight for millions. Beryllia ceramic is the only material that offers the thermal conductivity, strength and dielectric properties required to contain and control these tiny, high- powered gas laser bores.
Simplifying surgery. Copper beryllium connectors transmit precise electrical signals to delicate surgical instruments and monitoring devices used in the newest, non-invasive surgical techniques. Such techniques reduce patient trauma and infection risk, while speeding the process of healing and recovery.
Analyzing blood. Beryllium is also used in components of the analytical equipment used to analyze blood for HIV and other diseases, offering the precision and reliability that doctors and patients demand.