The Old Way – Film x-rays are a lot like your old film camera. An x-ray image, of your pet’s broken leg for example, would be captured on film. Then that film was put through a developer machine that took a lot of time and used chemicals. They were finicky machines that could be expensive to maintain and when they were down your veterinarian didn’t have access to important diagnostic information. If the picture was bad, you had to go through the whole process again. If your veterinarian wanted a second opinion then a copy of the x-ray had to be made and mailed off to the specialist. All in all it was a time consuming process - and expensive.
The Technology – With digital x-ray technology, an image is captured on a sensor plate instead of film. The x-ray image shows up on a high resolution computer monitor in seconds. If the image isn’t just right, or another angle would be useful, your veterinarian can take another picture immediately. Sophisticated image processing software can be used to enhance details to increase the quality of the image. Your veterinarian can see things in the digital picture that they couldn’t see before. Finally, the digital x-ray can be transmitted in minutes to a specialist if needed.
The Applications – Digital x-ray technology is being applied to all the same diagnostic areas as traditional x-rays including broken bones, dental disease, cancer, heart problems, gastric and intestinal problems, kidney (or other) stones, etc.
The Impact – The bottom line for digital x-rays is higher quality information in a fraction of the time. Better information means better diagnosis and quicker treatment for your animal. This can only increase their chances for recovery. Digital x-ray images can be combined with other diagnostic images such as ultrasound to give your veterinarian a level of detail and information impossible to achieve before.