Digital Technology Pulls X-Ray into the 21st Century

Radiologists apply digital imaging wherever they can, with images made from magnetic fields, as in magnetic resonance (MR) imaging; high pitch sound waves, as in diagnostic ultrasound; or X-rays, as with computed tomography (CT). Even nuclear medicine uses digital detectors to capture and translate the energy of gamma rays emitted by radiopharmaceuticals. It is all the more shocking, therefore, that about 70% of all radiology exams are not digital, but are done the same way they were a century ago. Doctors routinely examine the head, chest, abdomen and extremities in two dimensions on flat film snapped up on boxes illuminated from behind with near-blinding light. But that has begun to change.

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