Digital radiography (DR) is a modern method of obtaining X-ray images that uses digital electronic sensors and a digital capturing device in place of traditional photographic film. This allows X-ray images to be obtained almost instantly.
The processing speed of DR that allows radiology technicians to produce an image for immediate review is its greatest advantage over more traditional X-ray systems. The image is captured on a receptor and subsequently transferred to software at a view station (rather than being captured on traditional film and then developed by chemical processes).
The digital image can then be distributed to the associated workstations, greatly increasing workflow efficiency.
Digital Radiography Advantages:
- Reduced radiation
- Reduced cost due to the elimination of chemical processors, processor maintenance, and filing and mailing jackets
- Reduced space requirement — no dark room is required, and the need to dedicate space for cabinets of analog images is eliminated
Along with the elimination of chemical processing, the digital format allows greater imaging versatility and overall image quality, both of which greatly increase the accuracy of patient diagnosis and the quality of care that can be provided.
When using DR, the image is stored as raw data within a computer, which provides the technologist, physician, and radiologist the capability to manipulate the images as needed. It allows for:
1. Lightening or darkening
2. Zooming in or out
A major advantage of DR is the ability to rapidly change back and forth from dark-on-light imaging to light-on-dark imaging, which increases the visibility of hard-to-see fractures and soft tissue.
Annotations can also be added to the image, including the following:
1. R/L markers
4. Notes made on the image itself
DR also allows for the option to retake an image immediately. The patient no longer has to be moved from room to room if the original image doesn’t meet the doctor’s needs.