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Guidelines for Choosing Your Next Digital Radiology Detector


Essential factors range from dosing considerations and image quality to workflow efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

A digital radiology detector is an integral part of your medical imaging system and workflow. The right detector can help improve efficiency and provide advanced imaging applications to help improve diagnosis and patient care.

But how do you choose the right DR detector? With different sizes, different scintillators and different software, the choices are almost as varied as options on a new vehicle. Given these challenges, here are some guidelines to help you choose a detector that fits your facility’s needs at a price you can afford.

What Types of Exams Are You Doing?

The types of patients that are being imaged and the types of exams you are performing will influence the detector and software that you select.

When considering a DR detector, here are some questions to consider:

  • Are you providing imaging for pediatric patients? What about neonatal imaging?
  • Are you doing exams for bariatric patients, trauma patients or orthopedics? This will help determine the size of the detectors you need.
  • Do you need a detector with dynamic capabilities for fluoroscopy or a general imaging detector?

Dosing Considerations: How to Balance Exposure with Image Quality

The goal of every imaging department is to produce the best quality images with the least amount of dose to the patient. DR detectors that use Cesium iodide (Csl) have helped make that a reality.

A digital detector using Csl can offer up to a 30 percent dose reduction in comparison to gadolinium oxysulfide (GOS) detectors. This is especially important in pediatrics because children are more vulnerable to radiation-induced cancers. In addition, CsI has high efficiency to preserve the visualization of fine details for a more accurate diagnosis.

Carestream’s DRX Plus 2530C Detector uses Csl for these highly dose-sensitive little patients, and its smaller pixel pitch delivers improved image quality for diagnostic confidence. This small-format, wireless DR detector is also quick and easy to position in incubator trays, while providing fast performance for instant access to images. The 2530C also offers the benefits of Carestream’s X-Factor, allowing it to be shared with other Carestream DRX equipment. With its flexible positioning and easy handling, the DRX Plus 2530C is also ideal for orthopedic imaging.

Another option for limiting dose is our DRX-L Detector for long-length imaging. Capturing high-quality long-length images for a patient’s leg or spine radiographs can be difficult, especially with pediatric patients or patients with limited mobility. With the wireless DRX-L Detector, a long-length imaging exam can be completed with a single exposure in less than one second, and image preview is available in six seconds.

In comparison, image acquisition for multi-shot long length imaging can take 14 seconds or more. That time savings with the DRX-L Detector can mean a lot for a fidgety child or patient in pain.

Multiple exposures also require images to be stitched together for a complete image. With the DRX-L Detector’s single exposure capability, there is no need for stitching multiple images, contributing to more precise measurements for better diagnosis and treatment planning. This is another strong option to achieve the lowest possible overall exposure without sacrificing image quality. The DRX-L is also a shareable member of the DRX family of DR detectors.

Getting Detailed Image Quality

Image processing software works hand in hand with the detector.

Carestream’s advanced Eclipse image processing provides a wide variety of enhancements to make X-ray exams faster, easier, and more productive. Some notable applications that we offer are:

  • Tube and line visualization, which accentuates peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) lines, central venous catheter (CVP) lines, gastrointestinal (GI) tubes and more to help with a fast diagnosis.
  • Pneumothorax visualization, which accentuates the appearance of free air in the chest cavity.
  • Bone suppression, which enhances the visualization of soft tissue.
  • Automatic grid detection and suppression of grid artifacts.
  • SmartGrid, which gives the same image quality without the physical use of a grid.

Our Eclipse engine automatically adjusts and tailors image processing to provide noise suppression and detail enhancement, which makes the subtle abnormalities that can be difficult to detect much easier to see and diagnose. Our Eclipse image processing software is available on all our DR detectors.

Can The Detector Enhance Workflow Efficiency?

DR detectors, especially wireless ones, have exponentially decreased the amount of time it takes for radiographers to perform imaging exams, which has subsequently made X-ray imaging much faster and easier for patients.

With a digital detector, patient images that once had to be processed through a film processor or computed radiography (CR)reader are now available seconds after exposure. In addition, mobile imaging is becoming increasingly popular in facilities. Digital radiology gives an immediate image at the patient’s bedside. If additional exposures are required, there is no need to disturb the patient for a second time, saving precious time for both the radiographer and the patient. Before selecting your next detector, consider some key questions regarding your workflow.

• Will the detector be used for bedside imaging?

• Will detectors be shared among multiple rooms or mobile units?

• Where will the detectors be charged? If there are a significant number of bedside images, consider a portable that has in-bin charging on the unit.

Another way to improve workflow is to lighten the load. The Carestream Lux 35 Detector is a lightweight, glass-free wireless detector ergonomically designed with the comfort of patients and radiographers in mind. Weighing approximately five Lux pounds, the sleek Lux 35 Detector, with its glass-free sensor, is Carestream’s lightest detector to date. A lighter detector makes it easier for radiographers to transport while making rounds and performing bedside exams. The cesium detector also offers superb resolution, better detail, and a reduced exposure dose in comparison to gadolinium detectors.

Also note whether your patient load shifts between departments at different times. If yes, that is another reason to choose a detector that is shareable so it can go wherever it is needed most: rounds in the morning, an X-ray room during the day and the ER at night.

Lastly, do your radiographers move among different facilities? If they do, consider purchasing detectors and other imaging equipment that share the same software. That helps your radiographers be more productive. They can easily move from one device to another within your facility. It also means that when you add a new detector, radiographers can get up to speed quicker, which reduces training costs.

Get the Most Functionality and Flexibility for Your Budget

Of course, price matters, especially when one must contend with budget constraints.

Our Focus 35C/43C Detectors, with Image Suite V4 Software powered by the Eclipse engine, allows the benefit of DR without replacing your current equipment.

Specifically designed for smaller facilities as well as private and specialty practices, such as orthopaedics, chiropractic and veterinary, the Focus 35C/43C Detectors offer affordable options for going digital. Our wireless Focus Detectors with Image Suite Software offer a simple and intuitive user interface, automated workflow with uniform protocols, a Windows 10 Platform for added cybersecurity and other advantages to increase your productivity each day and support a higher standard of care for your patients.

Before purchasing any detector, it’s important to review all the features to ensure the right fit for your facility’s needs and optimal quality at a cost you can afford. I hope these guidelines will help you make an informed decision.

Editor’s note: This article has been adapted with permission from the original publication on Carestream’s Everything Rad blog at www.carestream.com/blog

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