Many film-based x-ray systems can be upgraded to Digital Radiography (DR) easily with the purchase of a tethered or wireless flat panel detector. DR is known for its advantages, which include faster acquisition and superior image quality at a lower dose. While many of the benefits of DR remain constant whether using tethered or wireless, there are some notable differentiators between the two types of digital x-ray panels.
One of reasons suppliers may advocate for a wireless over a tethered panel is that a wireless is portable and, therefore, better for use in a trauma center or emergency room, as practitioners can more readily move patients through an emergency area more quickly. However, wireless panels require batteries and are more expensive overall. The batteries associated with such panels cost about $1,000 each and need to be replaced every 1-2 years.
Wireless panels are more portable, yes, but they are not nearly as worry free as some providers may have you believe. The battery-powered, wireless panel relies on the wireless connectivity in the radiography environment, which we all know is not surefire for 100% uptime. On the other hand, a hard line, tethered connection has its benefits over the potential unreliability of a wireless connection from panel to network.
It’s important for practitioners to make sure they get the best solution for the needs of their practice or clinic. This certainly includes panel size. For example, a 17” x 17” provides a full field of view, which means the practitioner is not forced to remove and reposition the panel for certain shots. Although the 17” x 17” tethered panel may be in the best of interest of the practitioner, some suppliers may sell a 14” x 17” wireless solution because it will benefit them (the seller) more so financially.
We want to make sure our customers get the best solution for the needs of their practice or facility. Tethered panels are cassette-sized and fit into existing bucky or wall trays. In such configurations, the panels are stationary, and there’s less of a chance of the panel being damaged when it’s not being moved around or handled frequently.
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