The old days are gone, technology is ever-changing – and this is true in the medical field as well. Tradition radiography (analog image acquisition) is very inefficient and is being replaced by computed radiography all over the world; there are simply too many advantages of going digital. But what exactly is a computed radiography system? How does it work, and how does it benefit you as a veterinarian and specialist? Here is a quick guide to what you need to know about a computed radiography system and how it can benefit you – and help you do a better job:
Replacing the film cassette
When it comes to traditional radiography, the technology made use of a film cassette that captured the electromagnetic radiation (mostly X-rays) – a special phosphor coating inside that cassette glows and exposes the film. After that, the film is developed in a traditional way, much like a regular photograph. This process is tedious and time-consuming, which is why many now embrace the digital age and opt for computed radiography.
With computed radiography, not that much has changed – except that the traditional cassette is replaced by a more modern one, one that uses CR-specific technology. Although the process of taking the picture is more or less the same, the development is new: after the exposure is taken, the cassette is brought to a special reader that immediately scans the image and converts it to a digital format. This process, in and of itself, has many obvious advantages.
The advantages of CR
Whilst there are many advantages to using CR technology and systems, here are the main ones:
- Faster development. It could take a lot of work and effort – as well as time – to develop the image the traditional way, as the process is similar to developing photos. With CR, the image is converted in digital format in less than a minute, which means the veterinarian can view the image almost instantly.
- Storage. Since the image is stored digitally, there is no need for large file cabinets or special rooms – a simple CD can store many images.
- Cost saving. Not only does the CR technology save time and effort (hence, labour), it also saves a lot on chemicals which would otherwise be needed.
- Transport and transfer. Digital images can be transported or communicated via the Internet, which means specialists or other consulting agents can view the image in real-time.
With the many benefits of computed radiography, it’s really no wonder that so many medical establishments are switching to CR – in fact, it’s only a matter of time before the old-school radiography equipment will be phased out. Cost and time saving, a CR system is the way of the future.