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

Traditional X-ray Vs Digital X-ray

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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8-2-8 Urgent Care

8-2-8 Urgent Care, based in Oceanside, California is a state-of-the-art urgent care and walk-in clinic that provides immediate medical care to all your regular healthcare needs. We are an emergency urgent care facility capable of treating everything from minor illness, like a fever or flu, to the more severe illnesses and injuries such as fractures and lacerations, to work related injuries and pediatric urgent care needs. We have an all equipment ready lab that's able to provide immediate test results and we are open every day, including the holidays.

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