Radiography can be thought of as 'X ray photography'. The images that are formed by passing an X ray beam through some section of a patient's body are recorded either on film or some form of digital media. Generally, the images recorded on film are viewed as transparencies on a lighted view-box or illuminator and the digital images are viewed on computer displays.
The general trend in the world is a transition from film-based to digital radiography. This is somewhat parallel to what is happening in other fields such as communications and entertainment where there are definite advantages to the use of digital technology.
Some of the specific advantages to digital radiography include:
- elimination of chemical processing of films,
- reduced space requirements for storage of images,
- ability to apply digital image processing to optimize image quality and visibility of pathologic conditions,
- rapid transmission of images to other locations for viewing by physicians.
While digital radiography offers definite advantages, it might not be the most appropriate choice at this time for many clinical facilities because of cost and other operational considerations.
It is important to recognize that the major factors of image information and radiation exposure to patients are not determined by the type of radiography (film or digital) but by the selection of the imaging system characteristics and operating factors for each clinical procedure.