Objective – To describe the different forms of digital radiography (DR), image file formats, supporting equipment and services required for DR, storage of digital images, and teleradiology.
Background – Purchasing a DR system is a major investment for a veterinary practice. Types of DR systems include computed radiography, charge coupled devices, and direct or indirect DR. Comparison of workflow for analog and DR is presented.
Summary – On the surface, switching to DR involves the purchase of DR acquisition hardware. The X-ray machine, table and grids used in analog radiography are the same for DR. Realistically, a considerable infrastructure supports the image acquisition hardware. This infrastructure includes monitors, computer workstations, a robust computer network and internet connection, a plan for storage and back up of images, and service contracts. Advantages of DR compared with analog radiography include improved image quality (when used properly), ease of use (more forgiving to the errors of radiographic technique), speed of making a complete study (important for critically ill patients), fewer repeat radiographs, less time looking for imaging studies, less physical storage space, and the ability to easily send images for consultation.
Conclusions – With an understanding of the infrastructure requirements, capabilities and limitations of DR, an informed veterinary practice should be better able to make a sound decision about transitioning to DR.