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Digital X-Ray Vs. Traditional X-Ray: Which is Better?

Nov 24, 2021

X-ray

Digital X-Ray Vs. Traditional X-Ray: Which is Better?

The diagnostic imaging landscape is vastly different compared to what it was a few decades ago, thanks to the emergence of new innovative solutions in healthcare technologies. An X-ray, less commonly known as X-radiation, is a penetrating form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation. 

It is the most widely used diagnostic and the oldest imaging solution in the world. Nowadays, digital systems have replaced traditional X-ray systems as many healthcare providers worldwide look to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the medical services they deliver. This article discusses the key differences between traditional and digital X-rays.

What is a digital X-ray?

Digital radiography, also referred to as digital X-ray, is a type of imaging that utilizes digital X-ray sensors instead of a conventional photo film. It enables the data to be transferred to a computer, laptop, or another digital medium without using an intermediate cassette as it uses a digital image capture device. As a result, digital X-rays produce sharper images than traditional ones. 

What is a traditional X-ray?

Traditional X-ray systems are similar to cameras that use film to capture images. These work by taking a picture of what’s beneath the skin surface. Although they are considered safe, traditional X-rays expose the patient to some radiation during the procedure. After it is taken, the X-ray is developed on a piece of film. This allows the doctor to detect underlying issues like small fractures or infections in bones and teeth.

How does a digital X-ray differ from a traditional X-ray?

  • Digital X-rays produce very little radiation compared to traditional X-rays. However, if used sparingly, traditional X-rays are deemed safe.
  • Developing images captured using a traditional X-ray needs a substantial amount of time. In contrast, doctors can make a proper diagnosis with digital X-rays and provide the right treatment quickly as they are available immediately.
  • Compared to traditional X-rays, digital X-rays provide better and clearer images with high resolution that can be enlarged or manipulated as needed, minimizing the need for repeating the procedure.
  • Since traditional X-rays are printed on a film, there is no chance of tampering with them. Digital X-rays, however, are prone to tampering and loss of records.
  • Traditional X-rays use various chemicals that have a negative impact on the environment, whereas digital X-rays do not require any chemicals. Therefore, digital X-rays are a more environmentally friendly choice. 
  • They also eliminate the need for a darkroom to develop films and generally require smaller equipment that takes up less space in a room.
  • Digital X-ray systems use virtual storage that is easy to access. In contrast, a traditional X-ray system uses films that utilize a lot of storage space and can be difficult to access quickly.

Which X-Ray Should You Choose?

There are many advantages of using digital X-rays over traditional X-rays. These include reduced radiation, processor maintenance, reduced cost due to eliminating chemical processors, less downtime, and clearer images for diagnosis. You can opt for traditional X-rays if you do not need to get them done frequently.  Otherwise, digital X-rays would be a better choice.

Visit 8-2-8 Urgent Care walk-in clinic in Oceanside, CA, if you need to get your medical condition diagnosed with X-rays. We have a highly skilled medical team and state-of-art, fully equipped digital X-ray lab on-site to assist in diagnosing your medical condition.

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