What Is a Digital X-Ray?
A digital x-ray is very similar to a traditional x-ray, except it uses digital sensors to create images rather than photographic film. Unlike most forms of radiation, x-rays pass through body tissue, which makes it possible to capture images of internal structures without performing surgery.
When Is a Digital X-ray Used?
Digital x-rays are the most frequently used form of medical imaging and the fastest and easiest way for physicians to view and assess broken bones. They can also be used to diagnose and monitor the progression of certain diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, blocked arteries, sinus issues, skull damage, spinal problems, and cancer.
What Happens During a Digital X-Ray Procedure?
When you receive a digital x-ray, electromagnetic radiation passes through your body and activates a flat panel detector, which absorb the x-rays and convert them into images. Dense structures like bone absorb most of the radiation and appear white on the digital image, while structures that are less dense appear in lighter shades of gray and black.
Before receiving an x-ray, you may be asked to change into a gown before your examination and remove any personal accessories that may obscure the images, such as jewelry, eyeglasses, or metal piercings. Depending on what part of the body is being scanned, you may be asked to stand in front of the machine or lie down on an exam table.
What Are the Benefits and Risks?
Digital X-rays can be performed with little preparation, allowing doctors to quickly diagnosis certain conditions without causing patients any discomfort. During an x-ray, you will be exposed to a small amount of radiation, but it doesn't pose any serious health risk - roughly equivalent to the amount of natural radiation your body absorbs every 10 days.