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 'Conventional Radiography' 
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Conventional Radiography
Conventional (also called analog, plain-film or projectional) radiography is a fundamental diagnostic imaging tool in the detection and diagnosis of diseases. X-rays reveal differences in tissue structures using attenuation or absorption of x-ray photons by materials with high density (like calcium-rich bones).
Basically, a projection or conventional radiograph shows differences between bones, air and sometimes fat, which makes it particularly useful to asses bone conditions and chest pathologies. Low natural contrast between adjacent structures of similar radiographic density requires the use of contrast media to enhance the contrast.
In conventional radiography, the patient is placed between an x-ray tube and a film or detector, sensitive for x-rays. The choice of film and intensifying screen (which indirectly exposes the film) influence the contrast resolution and spatial resolution. Chemicals are needed to process the film and are often the source of errors and retakes. The result is a fixed image that is difficult to manipulate after radiation exposure. The images may be also visualized on fluoroscopic screens, movies or computer monitors.
X-rays emerge as a diverging conical beam from the focal spot of the x-ray tube. For this reason, the radiographic projection produces a variable degree of distortion. This effect decreases with increased source to object distance relative to the object to film distance, and by using a collimator, which let through parallel x-rays only.
Conventional radiography has the disadvantage of a lower contrast resolution. Compared with computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), it has the advantage of a higher spatial resolution, is inexpensive, easy to use, and widely available. Conventional radiography can give high quality results if the technique selected is proper and adequate. X-ray systems and radioactive isotopes such as Iridium-192 and Cobalt-60 for generating penetrating radiation, are also used in non-destructive testing.
See also Computed Radiography and Digital Radiography.
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Digital Radiography
(DR) Digital radiography uses a special electronic x-ray detector, which converts the radiographic image into a digital picture for review on a computer monitor. The digital image is then stored and can be post processed by changing the magnification, orientation, brightness, and contrast. Digital radiography (also called direct radiography) is a progressive development of computed radiography (CR).
These advantages can lead to fewer 'recalls' (repeated x-ray images) including a lower radiation dose than analog or conventional radiography. DR and CR systems use no chemicals to process the x-ray images and the hazardous materials and waste associated with film development are eliminated.

Advantages of digital radiography compared with conventional radiography:
point saves time and costs due to more effective imaging process and workflow;
point improved diagnostic quality images also in cases of x-ray under exposition or over exposition;
point lower repeat rate;
point digital images are storable on disks or in a picture archiving and communication system (PACS);
point films and developing chemicals are omitted;
point reduction of hazardous chemical waste.

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Digital Applications of Radiography(.pdf)Open this link in a new window
'Conventional radiography with film is superior to other NDT methods in many different applications as a picture tells a thousand ...'
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Computed Radiography
(CR) Computed radiography is an imaging technique that uses similar equipment to conventional radiography except that films are replaced by imaging plates. An imaging plate contains photostimulable storage phosphors, which store the radiation level received at each point in local electron energies. The imaging plate is placed under the patient in the same way as conventional film cassettes. After x-ray exposure, the imaging plate is run through a special scanner to read out the image. The digital image can then be processed to optimize contrast, brightness, and zoom. Computed Radiography can be seen as halfway between film-based conventional technology and current direct digital radiography.

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Physics of Computed Radiography(.pdf)Open this link in a new window
'Computed Radiography (CR) the generic term applied to an imaging system comprised of: Photostimulable Storage ...'
Computed radiographyOpen this link in a new window
'Computed Radiography (CR) uses very similar equipment to conventional radiography except that in place of a film to create the ...'
Digital Applications of Radiography(.pdf)Open this link in a new window
'Conventional radiography with film is superior to other NDT methods in many different applications as a picture tells a thousand ...'
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Computed Tomography
(CT or CAT scan) Computed tomography is a diagnostic imaging technique, previously also known as computerized axial tomography (CAT), computer-assisted tomography (CAT), computerized tomographic imaging, and reconstructive tomography (RT).
A CT scan is based on the measurement of the amount of energy that a tissue absorbs as a beam of radiation passes through it from a source to a detector. As the patient table moves through the CT scanner, the CT tube rotates within the circular opening and the set of x-ray detectors rotate in synchrony. The narrow, fan-shaped x-ray beam has widths ranging from 1 to 20 mm. The large number of accurate measurements with precisely controlled geometry is transformed by mathematical procedures to image data. Corresponding to CT slices of a certain thickness, a series of two-dimensional cross-sectional images is created.
A CT is acquired in the axial plane, while coronal and sagittal images can be rendered by computer reconstruction. Although a conventional radiography provides higher resolution for bone x-rays, CT can generate much more detailed images of the soft tissues. Contrast agents are often used for enhanced delineation of anatomy and allow additional 3D reconstructions of arteries and veins.
CT scans use a relatively high amount of ionizing radiation compared to conventional x-ray imaging procedures. Due to widespread use of CT imaging in medicine, the exposure to radiation from CT scans is an important issue. To put this into perspective, the FDA considers the risk of absorbed x-rays from CT scans to be very small. Even so, the FDA recommends avoiding unnecessary exposure to radiation during diagnostic imaging procedures, especially for children.
CT is also used in other than medical fields, such as nondestructive testing of materials including rock, bone, ceramic, metal and soft tissue.
See also Contrast Enhanced Computed Tomography.

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'The advent of computed tomography (CT) has revolutionized diagnostic radiology. Since the inception of CT in the 1970s, its use ...'
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Diagnostic Imaging
Imaging refers to the visual representation of an object. Today, diagnostic imaging uses radiology and other techniques, mostly noninvasive, to create pictures of the human body. Diagnostic radiography studies the anatomy and physiology to diagnose an array of medical conditions. The history of medical diagnostic imaging is in many ways the history of radiology. Many imaging techniques also have scientific and industrial applications. Diagnostic imaging in its widest sense is part of biological science and may include medical photography, microscopy and techniques which are not primarily designed to produce images (e.g., electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography).
Brief overview about important developments:
Imaging used for medical purposes, began after the discovery of x-rays by Konrad Roentgen 1896. The first fifty years of radiological imaging, pictures have been created by focusing x-rays on the examined body part and direct depiction onto a single piece of film inside a special cassette.
In the 1950s, first nuclear medicine studies showed the up-take of very low-level radioactive chemicals in organs, using special gamma cameras. This diagnostic imaging technology allows information of biologic processes in vivo. Today, single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET) play an important role in both clinical research and diagnosis of biochemical and physiologic processes.
In the 1960s, the principals of sonar were applied to diagnostic imaging. Ultrasound has been imported into practically every area of medicine as an important diagnostic tool, and there are great opportunities for its further development. Looking into the future, the grand challenges include targeted contrast imaging, real-time 3D or 4D ultrasound, and molecular imaging. The earliest use of ultrasound contrast agents (USCA) was in 1968.
The introduction of computed tomography (CT/CAT) in the 1970s revolutionized medical imaging with cross sectional images of the human body and high contrast between different types of soft tissues. These developments were made possible by analog to digital converters and computers. First, spiral CT (also called helical), then multislice CT (or multi-detector row CT) technology expanded the clinical applications dramatically.
The first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices were tested on clinical patients in 1980. With technological improvements including higher field strength, more open MRI magnets, faster gradient systems, and novel data-acquisition techniques, MRI is a real-time interactive imaging modality that provides both detailed structural and functional information of the body.

Today, imaging in medicine has been developed to a stage that was inconceivable a century ago, with growing modalities:
point x-ray projection imaging, including conventional radiography and digital radiography;
point angiography;
point fluoroscopy;
point computed tomography;
point sonography;
point magnetic resonance imaging;
point magnetic source imaging;
point scintigraphy;
point single photon emission computed tomography;
point positron emission tomography.

All these types of scans are an integral part of modern healthcare. Usually, a radiologist interprets the images. Most clinical studies are acquired by a radiographer or radiologic technologist. In filmless, digital radiology departments all images are acquired and stored on computers. Because of the rapid development of digital imaging modalities, the increasing need for an efficient management leads to the widening of radiology information systems (RIS) and archival of images in digital form in a picture archiving and communication system (PACS). In telemedicine, medical images of MRI scans, x-ray examinations, CT scans and ultrasound pictures are transmitted in real time.
See also Interventional Radiology, Image Quality and CT Scanner.

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Medical imagingOpen this link in a new window
'Medical imaging refers to the techniques and processes used to create images of the human body (or parts thereof) for clinical ...'
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'Efforts to capture visions beyond the range of the normal eye have long engaged scientists and engineers. By the mid-1880s George ...'
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