Advancements in imaging techniques and the development of new radiological modalities have opened exciting venues for furthering surgical specialties. From the initial and innovative discovery of the radiograph by Röentgen, radiology has found an important and central role in the expansion of surgical possibilities. In this historical review, the innovation and discoveries behind the development of the radiograph, fluoroscopy, angiography and ultrasound are examined. Additionally, the use of these imaging modalities in surgery is discussed. Learning from the discoveries of history's giants, we hope to advance our own knowledge and create new possibilities, a future that will hold great promise for the radiologists and surgeons of tomorrow.