CR stands for Computed Radiography, which, in simplified terms, is a system that’s capable of capturing x-ray images on a phosphor screen that can be converted into a digital image for display on a computer monitor.
In the traditional film-based x-ray setting, an image is captured on an x-ray film, which is then sent through a multi-chemical and washing process to reveal the image when the film is viewed on a view box. With a CR system, that same image is captured on a flexible, phosphor screen (or imaging plate) that will store the image until it’s processed using a CR reader or scanner. The CR reader utilizes a laser to release the image from the screen in the form of violet light. Once the image is released, the phosphor screen returns to a ready-state and can be re-used many times. The violet light is captured by the CR reader and is sent to the acquisition computer for processing by algorithms in the acquisition software. The image is then displayed on a monitor for viewing.
While CR is certainly a step up from traditional film-based x-ray, it falls short when compared to direct digital radiography with regard to processing time and efficiency. The processing time for CR ranges from just under a minute to slightly over a minute. As such, CR systems are generally the less expensive digital solution. Insofar as overall functionality is concerned, CR cassettes are very similar to film cassettes so the transition from film to CR is typically very easy for technicians.
Benefits of Computed Radiography (CR)
Increases efficiency over film (reduction in both exposure and processing time)
Virtually eliminates consumables
Allows practice to get rid of darkroom and chemicals
Flexible phosphor imaging places can be reused immediately
Images are displayed on a computer screen
Information is more readily stored and exchanged
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