SHARE
A Brief History of Medical Technology Progress

If you think back to how medical technology has developed over the years, then you will likely be amazed by the progress that has been made thanks to continuous research and the bright ideas of, scientists, inventors and engineers.  

Not only have new treatments been made available for a variety of disorders, but also the way in which conditions are initially diagnosed in patients has been revolutionized thanks to advancements in technology. 

If we were to look at all the changes and discoveries that have been made during the history of medical technology processes then the list would seem endless. But below is a brief outline of some of the main discoveries that have made in the field of medical technology since records began.

1816: The Invention of the Stethoscope

One major development in the field of medical diagnosis was the invention of the stethoscope back in 1816. This incredibly useful everyday piece of medical equipment was invented in France by Rene Laennec. It was during a consultation with a female patient that Laennec realized that he needed an alternative way to be able to listen to the patients chest, rather than simply placing his ear against it.

He rolled up a sheet of paper into a tube and placed this onto the chest of the patient and found that the sound was magnified. This paper tube was soon replaced by a hollow wooden tube, which resembles more of the stethoscopes which are still used to this day.

1895 First Documented use of X-Rays in Medical Imaging

It was a man called Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen who discovered x-rays during 1895. Roentgen was a professor in Wuerzburg University in Germany. His discovery was purely accidental, in fact, he found x-rays whilst trying to find out what would happen when an electrical current was passed through gases at a low pressure. 

It was during this experiment that he found that highly energetic radiation was actually capable of penetrating solid objects, a technique that has been a part of modern medicine since his discovery. 

1956 Ultrasound First Used On A Pregnant Woman

Until Ian Donald and Tom Brown (an obstetrician and an engineer respectively) created ultrasound technology to be used in medicine, women would spend their entire pregnancy not being able to know more about what was going on within their body and with their baby. In 1956, ultrasounds were used for the first time for clinical purposes and have been used ever since.

Before this time the same type of equipment was used as a method to detect any industrial flaws within ships. Rather different from being able to see within a pregnant mother’s body. 

1973 Invention of First Whole Body CAT Scan

1973 Invention of First Whole Body CAT Scan

Moving on from the ultrasound, which relied on ultra-sonic waves to transmit a picture of what was happening with a uterus, the invention of the first whole body CAT scan was the next significant step to be made in the field of medical imaging technology. A British engineer named Godfrey Hounsfield and a South African physicist called Allan Cormack invented the idea of being able to use a clinical scanner to take images of within a human body (this originally was the head but quickly developed into scanning the whole body) and then transform the data collected into an image of what was going on. 

In the early days, the CAT scanner was not anywhere near as effective or comfortable as they are now. However, over the course of the years, huge advancements in this area of technology have been made and now CAT scanners are a truly essential part of modern medicine which are used to help diagnose numerous conditions including spinal cord injuries, cancer and heart disease. 

2016 Invention of First Artificial Pancreas

During 2016 the FDA approved the invention of what is essentially the worlds first artificial pancreas. 

Designed to be able to transform the lives of people who have Type 1 Diabetes, this is a rather impressive invention and one that is definitely paving the way for huge changes to be made for those living with life-long conditions.

This brief history of medical technology progress gives you an idea of the impressive advancements that were made in the years gone by and how they truly impact the lives of hundreds of millions of people still to this day.

As technology continues to shape the world we live in and our knowledge of the human body grows further, there’s no doubt that many more important discoveries in the field of medical tech will continue to be made in the coming years and decades, but these aforementioned developments will forever remain as key milestones in the history of medical progress.