X-ray of human spinal column closeup

Digital X-ray is a form of X-ray imaging that uses digital X-ray sensors instead of traditional film plates. This makes digital X-rays faster to process and allows the X-ray to be digitally transferred and enhanced.

X-rays are used to show the pathology with bones and joints (not soft tissues). The purpose of having an X-ray is for a chiropractor to confirm any injuries and/or diagnoses already given. It can also be used to rule out any other diagnoses that have not been given. In some uses, it can even be used to diagnose if a patient is pregnant.

How Do Digital X-rays Work?

Digital x-rays work by using imaging equipment to emit x-rays, which are captured by a digital sensor to create a radiograph. The imaging equipment is very similar to a traditional camera, but instead of capturing light waves to produce the image, it uses electromagnetic radiation, especially x-rays, to view the internal structure of an opaque object, such as your bones underneath your skin. To create the image, x-rays are projected past the subject, where what is most dense will absorb the x-rays, and the areas that are not dense, such as skin, allow the x-rays to pass through. This creates the 2d high contrast image you see when a radiograph is developed.

Difference Between X-Ray and Digital X-Ray

Before digital x-rays came to be, a light sensitive film was exposed to x-rays and then developed, using elaborate film and some time before the images were ready. Now, instead of using light-sensitive film, digital x-rays work by using a digital detection sensor instead of traditional film. This allows for much less radiation than traditional x-rays, and much faster development time, from hours down to mere seconds.

Types of Digital Radiography

There are two main types of digital radiography systems used for x-rays: direct radiography and computed radiography. Both are designed to produce a high quality image in seconds, but the way with which each method captures the image is different. While each technique produces similar results, the two methods differ in how they take each x-ray.

Computed radiography

Computed radiography uses the old fashioned system of sandwiching two x-ray sensitive screens around a single plate. However, whereas analog X-rays would use a traditional photochemical plate, computed radiography uses a digital plate to record those X-rays.

The digital plate takes the image and then transfers it to a reading device. The reading device then transfers to a picture archiving and communication system, where the X-ray can be examined at will by the presiding medical professional.

Direct radiography

Direct radiography uses a sealed image cassette that is transmitted wirelessly. Direct radiography captures the image directly onto a flat panel detector, without the use of plates. Direct radiography is therefore similar to modern digital photography, where the image is saved directly to the sensor of the image capturing device before transferring to storage.

Digital X-rays are Safer

Radiation from digital x-rays can be as little as 1/10th of the radiation traditional radiography produces. Exposure time is also significantly less than with traditional radiography machines, resulting in less radiation for a shorter amount of time.

Why You May Need an X-Ray

In the chiropractic world, receiving a quick digital x-ray can show inflammation, damage and problems in the spinal area. Taking x-rays allows our doctors to quickly find the best areas to adjust the spine, as well as to rule out possible fractures or tumors. Because all of our patients have their own specific needs, Absolute Life Wellness Center’s digital x-ray services are done on a per patient level, and sometimes, x-rays aren’t necessary.