X-rays are a subset of gamma radiation. Gamma radiation are waves of energy with the highest frequencies and shortest wave lengths in the EM wave spectrum. As we all know, electro-magnetic radiation comes to us in the form of photons - discreet packets of energy (waves), or mass-less particles, depending on whether you are a follower of Schrodinger or Heisenberg.

     In the beginning, doctors exposed photographic film directly with x-rays. This took a considerable amount of exposure because most of the x-rays passed through the film without affecting the gelatin as is required to create a latent image. Later scintillators were used (screens) to convert the x-ray photons into multiple lower energy photons with wave lengths in the visible spectrum (fluorescence). Suffice to say, screens greatly reduced the amount of exposure required to create high grade diagnostic x-ray film plates and made taking x-rays far safer for the patients and the techs. 

     Today, more and more podiatrists are opting for digital imaging as opposed to using traditional films and processors. The digital imaging units on the market today fall within two categories generally - CR and DR. CR units use photostimulable phosphor cassettes to create latent images that are in turn read by laser readers. DR units snap pictures of scintillated images with CCD chips much like common digital cameras. Both units require an x-ray emitting device to create the images.  

     It appears that misleading information is being promoted in the profession as to what kind of x-ray emitting device is required to use with a given digital imaging system. I receive calls from doctors more and more that claim they need to purchase a new x-ray machine with a digital timer in order to use a digital imaging system. First of all, whether a timer is analog or digital doesn't have any impact on creating an image so long as it is calibrated to fire the tube for the required time. Just about all of the x-ray timers currently being used in podiatry have time increments sufficient to make them compatible with the digital imaging systems being marketed presently. Second, all of the digital imaging systems used in podiatry require x-rays to create their exposures. I talked with some leading experts in the field as to whether there is any meaningful difference between x-rays and high frequency x-rays with regard to digital imaging systems. All of them told me that the difference between the two shouldn't make either incompatible with any digital imaging system currently available. In fact, one could use a radioactive isotope as a x-ray emission source in conjunction with a digital imaging system if that were practical. 

     The point of this essay is that there is no need for a doctor who is converting to a digital imaging system to be required to purchase a new x-ray machine. Their existing unit can be used with the A2D2 system and any system that employs phosphor cassettes and a laser reader. Using an existing machine or buying a used one will cost far less than purchasing a new machine that is not necessary. For those who are just getting started in practice, purchasing a quality, used x-ray machine with a good warranty to use with their digital imaging system can yield a significant reduction in start up costs.   

If you have any questions or want to further discuss any of the above, call 440.333.0007 and ask for Mark.   

Global Intermed
19876 Henry Rd.
Fairview Park, OH 44126


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