Types of DR Digital Panels
A DR panel stands for Direct Radiography and is the technology that allows you to capture a digital x-ray. DR panels have come a long way in the past 15 years and now come in a variety of sizes, but for the most part, they are cassette-sized. This means that a traditional x-ray system that can use film-based cassettes can now easily be retrofitted with a cassette-sized flat-panel DR system.
Here are some different options currently available with DR panels:
- DR Panel Size: 14X17 or 17X17
- Wired vs. Wireless
- CSI Cesium vs Gadox
We recommend buying the x-ray and DR panels as separate systems to combine together. There are options to buy a completely integrated DR and x-ray system, however, these tend to be sold more in the hospital and large imaging center markets. The cost is more expensive and so is the ongoing warranty. When you buy a standalone x-ray system and then pair it with a DR panel it is going to provide you with the best value and the ongoing warranty will be less expensive.
Size, Connection & Technology
DR panels currently come in the following sizes for the Chiropractic market:
- 17 x 17 Tethered
- 17 x 17 Wireless
- 14 x 17 Wireless
The 17 x 17 size is most recommend for a chiropractor as the DR panel will typically stay in the cassette tray and not leave. Unlike an urgent care or imaging center, most Chiropractors do not have a table that they would be moving the DR panel back and forth between.
This is also why the preferred connectivity for a Chiropractor is to have a tethered system. The benefits to the tethered system are that it is typically less expensive and there are no batteries, like that of the wireless system. Most manufacturers only warranty the batteries for 1 year and the replacement cost could be up to $500 each and will eventually need to be replaced.
The benefit to a wireless DR panel is that you can move it to a table and it can be good for Chiropractors that are doing a lot of extremities. The tethered system is not as easy to move between a wall stand and table and extremities are more difficult. Most chiropractors with a 17 x 17 tethered panel will take extremities just using the wall stand or they will purchase a system like the Tilting wall stand to make it easier to do extremities without taking the DR panel out of the wall stand.
One item to consider is that you want to protect the DR panel from dropping as the inside of the panel is TFT glass, which if dropped or banged with enough force can damage the panel. The cost of repair can be up to $6k if just the TFT breaks and even more if there is another damage. Many manufacturers will offer a drop protection warranty, but they typically come with a high deductible. Many chiropractors will choose to place the panel under the general business insurance plan if there is a drop or damage since the replacement or repair can come at a high price. This is another reason why we recommend that Chiropractors keep the panel in the wall stand as much as possible, as it will protect the panel and lifespan.
There are two types of panel technology to be aware of when looking at DR panels. One is called Cesium (CSI) and this is the newest and best technology available, and the other is called Gadolinium (GADOX) and this is the older technology. In years past, manufacturers would offer both options with the GADOX being the less expensive, but it required more x-ray dose and the image quality was not as good. Cesium technology provides better image quality and less patient dose. In recent years the price for Cesium CSI has become close to the older GADOX, so most manufacturers are only offering Cesium detectors. Cesium offers the better technology at the same price point, so you want to ensure you do not get the older GADOX or Gadolinium technology, as having the newest technology is ideal.