Why Are Digital X-Rays Preferred to Traditional Film X-Rays?

Diagnostic imaging has come a long way since its origin. Radiography was first discovered in the late 1800s, kickstarting a vast history of complex medical imaging. These x-rays were able to capture images by using highly energetic electromagnetic radiation and film. Although this discovery was a tremendous breakthrough for diagnostic imaging, many technological advancements, like digital radiography, have been able to take modern medicine to new heights.

According to The Scientist, German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen discovered x-rays by accident at the end of the nineteenth century. The source describes, “When Röntgen held a piece of lead in front of the electron-discharge tube, it blocked the rays, but he was shocked to see his own flesh glowing around his bones on the fluorescent screen behind his hand. He then placed photographic film between his hand and the screen and captured the world’s first X-ray image.” The x-ray soon became the foundation for medical imaging, leading to the birth of mammography, ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and more imaging practices.

X-rays are known to emit radiation in order to effectively capture a clear image. More specifically, traditional film x-rays produce 80% more radiation compared to newer imaging techniques, like digital radiography. To combat this, imaging centers use oversized lead aprons or blankets that shield patients from excess radiation. One major risk associated with increased radiation exposure is the increased risk of developing cancer. Studies conducted by Harvard Health though have shown there is no strong correlation between patient radiation exposure and a cancer diagnosis; however, there is no definite answer to this fear as the effects of radiation damage often take many years to surface.

Alternatively, a digital x-ray uses much less electromagnetic radiation to achieve a clear diagnostic image. Digital technology bypasses chemical processing to yield an x-ray image ready to view immediately. All in all, a digital x-ray can develop results quickly and safely. That way, the physician can plainly view broken bones, joint injuries, or spine injuries and evaluate next steps.

While traditional film x-rays are still used in medicine today, digital x-rays are undoubtedly preferred among physicians, technicians, and patients alike. Trust an imaging center with top-of-the-line digital technology to manage your diagnostic imaging needs. Windsor Imaging, the diagnostic imaging center with three convenient South Florida locations, is more than equipped to perform your next digital x-ray. Visit our website for more information on the types of digital imaging services we offer.

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