Digital Radiography (or DR) has become better known as digital x-ray, which captures image data without the use of screen-film or Computed Radiography (CR) cassettes and photo-stimulable phosphor plates. Instead, DR commonly utilizes flat panel detectors, which receive the radiation passing through the patient and converts it into a digital image displayed at a computer workstation within seconds. DR is quickly becoming the standard in the world of medicine.
The three main forms of DR technology include indirect, direct, and CCD (Charged Coupled Device). Indirect digital x-ray refers to systems that must convert incoming x-rays into light before being collected by a photodiode and then converted into an electric charge. On the other hand, direct digital x-ray refers to systems capable of converting x-rays directly into an electric charge. CCD refers specifically to systems that must record the x-ray and then perform a scan with a linear laser diode before the energy can be released and read by an array of CCRs.
There’s simply no shortage when it comes to the benefits of digital x-ray technology. These include, but are not limited to:
Images taken with digital x-ray can be reviewed in real-time
Reduces the time taken to capture and review x-ray images
Ability to take multiple exposures without repositioning the sensor
Not a lot of moving parts, unlike film and CR systems which need maintenance
Improved efficiency and workflow translate to higher throughput
Images can be immediately acquired, deleted, modified, stored, and sent
Images can be reviewed simultaneously by physicians in separate geographic locations
Ability to enhance and adjust image with software tools
Ease of incorporating images and order entry into PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System)
No need for a darkroom, processor, chemicals, or related storage of physical x-ray films and this makes digital x-ray environmentally-friendly since there’s no need for developing chemicals