Transitioning from Analog to Digital X-Ray Imaging
Transitioning from Analog to Digital X-Ray Imaging Provides Multiple Benefits
Digital Radiography (DR) is an increasingly valuable diagnostic tool. In a recent Economic Times’ Healthworld article, “Transitioning to Analogue to Digital X-ray Imaging results in enhanced Diagnostic Confidence,” DR is well-positioned as a superior technology for diagnostic imaging across the globe. In fact, digital x-ray is said to play “a cardinal role [in] significantly enhancing diagnostic confidence.” Let’s explore why DR is great.
Computed Radiography (CR) systems utilize cassettes, which use photo-simulated luminescence screens to capture the x-ray image, instead of conventional x-ray film. The CR cassette goes into a reader to convert the data into a digital image. On the other hand, DR systems use active matrix flat panel detectors (FPDs) consisting of a scintillator detection layer over an active matrix array of thin film transistors and photodiodes. With DR systems, the image is converted into digital data in real-time and is available for review within seconds.
When compared to CR, DR also has significantly higher dose efficiency–2 to 3 times more efficient at converting dose to signal. DR systems generally need just 40% of the radiation dose required with CR or film x-ray. Let’s face it–CR is also slower. The average DR system captures and renders an image in approximately 5 seconds. This is very fast compared to CR and film.
In addition to the above-referenced benefits, digital x-ray eliminates the chemical processing of films and frees up the used office space where the dark room and chemicals previously resided. DR systems often do not require additional space as the panel fits into existing bucky tray. DR systems are often less bulky, more portable, and versatile.
DR integrates seamlessly with PACS, which “greatly enhance[s] efficient archival, review, and accurate diagnosis with a convenient platform to share and review images amongst multiple therapeutic specialists.” With digital x-ray, a referring physician can easily view requested images on a desktop of personal computer and often report findings just a few moments from the exposure being acquired.
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