What Is a Digital Radiography X-Ray? A Quick Overview

May 1, 2023 1:35:00 AM / by Chad Hutchison

Digital or direct digital radiography has been one of the most significant technological advancements over the past ten years. Digital X-rays use X-ray-sensitive plates to capture data directly and instantly transfer it to a computer system. Digital radiography X-rays can be immediately acquired, read, and sent to other practitioners. They have many advantages over their traditional counterparts, making them the preferred imaging system in most medical facilities. Let's uncover if this type of radiography is right for you and your practice.

In the below guide, we're providing a quick overview of digital radiography X-Rays, their advantages, and differences with traditional radiography, and more. 

What Is a Digital Radiography X-Ray?

Digital radiography is a type of radiography that uses special plates sensitive to X-rays to capture patient data. The most common type of plate used is a flat panel detector. These flat panel detectors initially convert X-rays to light. Then, the detectors quickly translate the light into digital data using thin film transistors. 

After this translation period, the computer system receives the digital data immediately without using an intermediate cassette. The digital radiograph allows healthcare providers to see images on a computer system within seconds of capturing the image - offering efficiency and speed for both you and your clients. 

What are the Advantages of Digital Radiography?

There are many advantages to digital radiography over the traditional radiography technique. 

Digital X-ray images can be immediately obtained, deleted, changed, and transferred to other computers. This means that the physician who ordered the image can view it on a computer just a few minutes after completing the examination. The immediate viewing capabilities cuts time to diagnosis and treatment.

Likewise, digital radiographical images offer noticeably higher quality, creating ease, comprehension, and visibility for all involved. Digital radiography also stores the images in an easily accessible computer network rather than in a single location, allowing multiple physicians to see the images at once who may be miles apart.

This ease of use translates from physicians and radiological specialists to clients, as digital radiography also makes things easier for patients. Imaging centers can put patients' X-rays on a CD that they can easily take to another physician or hospital. Importantly, they also emit less radiation than traditional radiography and are safer for patients. From here, one can see that while the advantages are many, the disadvantages are few. Below, let's uncover the differences between digital and traditional radiography.

What Are the Differences Between Digital and Traditional Radiography?

Digital radiography is similar to the digital cameras we have today, while traditional radiography is like a camera with film. They both produce an X-ray image, but they go through slightly different processes to do so. We will further explore the differences below.

Image Capture 

The main difference between digital and traditional radiography is how the machine captures the image. Digital radiography and traditional radiography both use X-ray beams to capture data. The difference is that digital radiographs use a digital image capture device or sensors connected directly to a computer. This is unlike the traditional radiography systems, which use film to capture the data. 

Image Processing 

Digital radiography image processing differs significantly from traditional systems. Traditional radiography systems use film. A dark room uses chemicals to process the film and to develop the image. It takes a substantial amount of time and effort to develop images that are captured using a traditional X-ray. Dark rooms also take up a lot of space in a healthcare facility. Digital X-rays directly upload the image to a computer system without the need for harmful or hazardous chemicals and are more environmentally friendly. 

Image Storage

Digital radiography has simplified image storage. The film used in traditional radiography creates a final product similar to a photograph that needs to be physically stored. Digital radiography allows users to store the images directly on their computer or upload it to a cloud for more permanent safekeeping. There is no need to have hard copies of X-rays with digital systems, which saves space. However, there is one downfall to digital systems. Computers can get viruses, or images may be accidentally deleted. If a physician does not back up the digital X-rays on another system, they could be lost permanently. 

What Are Digital Radiography X-Ray Applications?

Digital radiography has utilizations other than in the medical field. Other technological areas employ this technology for a wide use of applications.

Security X-ray Inspection

The security X-ray inspection field started using digital radiography over 20 years ago, replacing the use of traditional radiography, or film, for inspection X-rays in the security and nondestructive testing fields (NDT).

Digital radiography has become a leader in the security field due to its portability, excellent image quality, environmental friendliness, high probability of detection, and immediate imaging. The advances in digital radiography continue to contribute to the security field positively. 

Aerospace Product Examination

The aerospace field widely uses digital radiography to test the integrity of materials for safety and cost reasons. It can provide accurate and reliable results in real-time. 

Casting and Weld Inspection

Similarly, in the electrical field, digital radiography allows instant imaging and quick inspection of products. Digital radiography offers fast, safe, and reliable assessment of casting and welding. 

Detection of Corrosion Under Insulation 

The petrochemical, oil, gas, and power generation industries use digital radiography for various reasons. Digital radiography can detect corrosion under insulation, as well as providing instant images to inspectors and offering invaluable data points.

Considering to Buy a Digital Radiography X-Ray? We Can Help!

If you are considering purchasing a digital radiography system, look no further than Maven Imaging. We are here to help you decide which digital X-ray system is right for you. Don't hesitate to get in touch with Maven Imaging, either directly or through our website, if you have questions. We will happily have a team member reach out to discuss your options at your earliest convenience. 

Tags: Digital X-ray System

Chad Hutchison

Written by Chad Hutchison

Founder and CEO of Maven Imaging, Chad Hutchison has been in the medical imaging equipment market since 2003. As his business grew, he pioneered buying and selling medical equipment online and eventually began offering leasing and financing to meet market demands and help customers. His market expertise goes beyond traditional medical imaging and finance support, as he’s spearheading cloud-based lending solutions for vendors across the sector.