CR or DR? How to decide.

So you want to take a step into the future and get rid of that old x-ray film by going digital with your x-ray system.  I am here to give you a brief and informing synopsis on how to choose which type of digital x-ray system you should go with based on two factors.  When going digital with your x-ray you have two options: CR or DR.

CR, abbreviated for ‘Computed Radiography’, involves the use of a cassette based system where the cassette is placed in the wall stand or table and the x-ray image is taken.  You then remove the cassette from the wall stand or table and insert it into the CR processor.  The image will be removed from the cassette digitally, uploaded to your computer and the cassette will be erased at the end of this process to allow reuse of the cassette.

DR, abbreviated for ‘Direct Radiography’, involves taking an image on a digital panel that is either tethered or fixed to a wall stand or table.  Unlike the CR, the DR requires no extra step in removing cassettes.  With the DR panel, you simply take your image and it is uploaded to your computer automatically in less than 10 seconds.

With the above stated comes the biggest question of the day? Which one do I choose?  In some cases workflow is a major contributor to going with a CR or DR, but the two most important contributors are volume and cost.


The first thing everyone wants to know is the bottom line, how much is going digital going to cost my practice?  For most practices, a digital x-ray is going to be one of if not the most expensive purchase the doctor will make for his practice.  Most doctors generally have a configured budget dollar amount in their head with regard to amount they want to spend on a digital x-ray.  The average cost of a quality DR panel usually starts in the low to mid $30k range.  The average cost of a quality CR starts at the high 10k to low $20k range depending on how many cassettes are included.


If cost hasn’t ruled out your decision between going with a CR and DR panel, then the volume of x-rays will.  If you are a low volume environment, 10 to 15 or fewer images per day, you will probably want to go with a CR panel.  If you volume exceeds 15-20+ images a day, then you will probably want to go with a DR panel for the overall workflow and convenience factor.

Purchasing a digital x-ray product is different for each buyer.  With each buyer comes specifics needs, wants and desires from such a product.  With that said, if you simply look at the cost of the product and volume of your practice, you will be able to save time in making a decision in going digital with your x-ray.

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