Digital Imaging in Orthopedics


Digital x-ray is used in orthopedics to accurately diagnose musculoskeletal conditions stemming from injury or illness. Since injuries to the musculoskeletal system (bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons) top the list of reasons to visit physicians’ offices, it comes as no surprise that Digital Radiography (DR) is widely used in large hospitals and medical practices of all sizes and specialties including orthopedics. DR uses sensors in place of traditional screen film to create high quality, high resolution images.


DR is capable of capturing a large number of high-resolution images each day. This is just one of the reasons great digital images are valuable in orthopedics. More specifically, orthopedic specialists use DR in the performance of knee, hip, and shoulder arthroscopy and replacements, advanced spine procedures, ACL repair and construction, and surgical correction for rotator cuff tears and fractures along with numerous additional orthopedic surgeries.


According to a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, orthopedics accounts for nearly 40% of extremity imaging examinations. The most common body parts examined are knee, hand, foot, shoulder, and hip.


  • Additional applications of digital x-ray in orthopedics include:
  • Identifying chips, dislocations, fractures, and growths
  • Identifying scoliosis and other spinal defects
  • Disc problems (herniations, degenerative disc disease)
  • Evaluation of joint and spine injuries
  • Diagnosis or monitor arthritis and osteoporosis


There are numerous advantages to utilizing digital x-ray in orthopedics:

  • Lower radiation dose
  • Ability to make adjustments in digital image (e.g. window level)
  • Improved resolution and clarity
  • Exceptional image quality
  • Increased diagnostic accuracy
  • Workflow efficiencies


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