Digital Radiography: An Overview

What is Digital Radiography?

Digital radiography, or DR, is the next step in the evolution of medical x-ray technology. First CR technology replaced traditional film and now CR is being replaced by DR technology. Where CR required cassettes that had to be scanned by a CR reader, DR allows x-ray radiation to be shot directly onto a panel containing x-ray sensors. The panel containing the detector is connected directly to a PC that allows the image to be processed and pre-viewed by the x-ray technician in seconds.

There are several broad types of DR readily available today including CCD, indirect flat panel detector and direct flat panel detector. Within these broad DR types there are also several options to choose from depending on the intended usage.

In general though, DR systems enjoy several benefits including immediate image preview, higher image quality and contrast resolution and potentially lower dosage compared with CR and traditional film.

How Does DR Work?

On its most basic level, the way that DR works is fairly straight-forward. Conventional x-rays are shot through a patient and are then detected by sensors in the DR panel that is placed in either a table or a wall stand. Those sensors then send that radiation information directly to an operator workstation where software processes the information and displays the resulting image. The entire process can take less than a few seconds.

DR system - how it works

Using your DR with Existing X-Ray Equipment

For the vast majority of the DR panels mentioned above it is possible to continue to use your existing x-ray equipment. Some panels will file directly into existing cassette trays and buckys and others will require retrofitting the tray or the entire bucky. The grid will need to be replaced for almost all DR panels.

Also, some DRs will be connected directly to your existing generator. This is not generally an issue if you have an experienced x-ray/DR engineer performing the installation.

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