Your old x-ray room has been good to you; it takes clear pictures, hardly ever breaks down, and the hum from its cooling fans sounds like one big sigh of contentment. So, when the other radiologists start talking about upgrading to a digital x-ray room, you get a little misty.
Fortunately, with digital radiography (DR) plates, there’s a way for the others to get the image processing speed they want without buying an entirely new rad room or scrapping your dear old friend.
There’s no debating that the time it takes to process an image is greatly reduced by using DR plates. Think of the time difference between snapping a picture with your smartphone and clicking a few buttons to email it to yourself versus standing around shaking a Polaroid until all your kids and the guy in the foam-rubber Mickey Mouse costume show up.
In some cases, imaging facilities can cut their scan times in half by swapping their cassette trays for DR plates. Despite your fondness for “old reliable” the financial implications of this are compelling: If you currently run two rooms, you could shut one down and cut your costs, or you could increase revenue by doubling your throughput capacity.
“Where do I sign up?” you might ask. We love your enthusiasm, but before you jump on anything, here are some details that you need to know. There are currently three types of DR technology. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. The “best” for you will depend on your priorities. Here is a general overview with a few advantages and dis-advantages to chew on:
CCD Array Panel:
Advantages – Very short processing time, relatively low cost
Disadvantages– Higher dose of X-ray, image quality is good but not optimal, older technology
Indirect Flat Panel Detector (CSl or Gadox):
Cesium Iodide (CSI)
Advantages – Excellent image quality, lower x-ray dosage, excellent choice for skeletal radiography
Disadvantages – Often requires a retrofit for placement in existing x-ray equipment, more difficult to move, higher cost
Gadolinium Oxysulfide (Gadox)
Advantages – Lower cost than CSI, higher image quality than CR, good for skeletal and soft tissue images
Disadvantages – Requires 10% more radiation dose than CSI panel for the same image quality
Direct Flat Panel Detector
Advantages – Excellent image quality, often lower cost than CSI, easy to retrofit into existing x-ray tables
Disadvantages – Relatively higher cost
Depending on what’s most important for your site, any of these DR plates could be a time-saving solution without the cost of replacing your existing x-ray room. If you need to know more before you decide, we’re happy to answer your questions or provide a consultation.