If you’ve been referred for an X-ray here at Excel Diagnostics & Nuclear Oncology Center in Houston, Texas, you might wonder if you’ll receive a digital X-ray or a traditional film-based X-ray. Our team is happy to offer the most cutting-edge diagnostic imaging, and that includes digital X-rays. Below, Dr. Ebrahim Delpassand highlights the six advantages of digital X-rays.
X-rays were invented in 1865 by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, who first used X-rays to study lungs, the skeleton, and other organs. Since then, X-rays have been used to confirm a variety of health conditions, including broken bones, tooth decay, arthritis, osteoporosis, bone cancer, digestive tract conditions, lung infections, breast cancer, and an enlarged heart.
Traditionally, X-ray produced images printed on film. To produce an X-ray film, a radiographer positions your body between the X-ray machine and a film (radiograph). When the X-ray machine is turned on, the radiation passes through your body. Different body structures absorb the radiation differently. For example, fat and muscle show up as gray on the film. Harder structures, such as bone, appear white.
There’s no doubt that the invention of the X-ray greatly improved modern medicine, but like all aspects of medicine, there is always room for advancements. That’s where digital X-rays come into the picture.
Digital X-rays require the same process of targeting X-ray radiation towards a specific body part. However, instead of producing an image on film, the digital X-ray sensors are linked to a computer rather than a physical film.
Digital X-rays have several important benefits over traditional X-rays, including:
The exact amount of radiation that you’re exposed to depends on what type of X-ray procedure you need. Specialized X-rays can emit more radiation than a simple X-ray. Radiation is measured in millisievert (mSv). That being said, digital X-rays emit less radiation than traditional X-rays. That means you’re exposed to less radiation when you opt for a digital X-ray.
Another advantage of digital X-rays over films is that there’s no need to process and develop any films. Your digital images are available immediately without any time needed to develop the film.
Digital X-rays produce images with better resolution, more clarity, and highly detailed images. Not only does improved clarity help improve diagnoses and shape your treatment plan, but the images themselves can be digitally manipulated or brightened using computer software. For example, digital images can be easily enlarged to examine one particular area in more detail.
In the not-so-distant past, physical X-ray films had to be mailed from one team to another. This can add to the treatment timeline, but it also increases the risk of loss or damage to the films. Digital files are shared easily and almost instantly between treatment teams.
Digital X-ray files are easily shared 一 and easily protected. Our team stores your digital images on a secure external hard drive, so your images are protected from loss, theft, and damage. Not only is this more secure, but it also reduces the need to store physical files on-site.
Film X-rays require physical films as well as chemicals to develop the images. Unfortunately, the chemicals used to process films are toxic, and they must be disposed of properly. These chemicals can leach into the environment if they aren’t disposed of properly. Even if the chemicals are discarded safely, there is still the waste associated with packaging and shipping the film and producing the films.
Because of the many advantages of digital X-rays, our team uses them to detect abnormal bone growths, detect bone cancer or infections, and provide images useful for other diagnoses. We offer many types of X-rays, including specialized digital X-ray scans, such as the dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry DEXA bone density scan.
Questions? To learn more about your digital X-ray options at our Houston, Texas, office, use our online portal to schedule an appointment. You can also reach us at 713-300-4886.