Guidelines for Choosing Your Next DR Detector

Reading Time: 8 minutes read

With DR detectors, it’s about way more than price.

A digital radiology detector is an integral part of your medical imaging system and workflow. The right detector can help improve the efficiency of your radiographers and provide you with advanced imaging applications to help improve diagnosis and patient care.

But how do you choose the right DR detector? With different sizes, different scintillators and different software, the choices are almost as varied as options on a new vehicle!

There’s plenty of competition out there, but as the company that introduced the world’s first portable, wireless, cassette-sized detector – the CARESTREAM DRX-1 Detector in 2009 – we have a lot of insight and experience in DR and have made significant contributions to detector technology. Here are some guidelines to help you choose a detector that fits your facility’s needs at a price you can afford.

Photo of a boys arm resting on a detector. The words "detector selection: 5 factors to consider" written above the boy.
Use these guidelines to inform your next
detector purchase.

1. Patients: what types of exams are you doing?

The types of patients that are being imaged and the types of exams you are performing will influence the detector and software that you select.

Some questions to ask yourself when considering a DR detector:

  • Are you providing imaging for pediatric patients? What about neonatal?
  • Are you doing exams for bariatric patients, trauma patients or orthopedics? This will help determine the size of the detectors you need.
  • Do you need a detector with dynamic capabilities for fluoroscopy or a general imaging detector?

2. Dose: new options for balancing exposure and image quality

The goal of every imaging department is to produce the best quality images with the least amount of dose to the patient. DR detectors that use Cesium iodide (Csl) have helped make that a reality.

A digital detector using Csl can offer up to a 30 percent dose reduction when compared to gadolinium oxysulfide (GOS) detectors. This is especially important in pediatrics, because children are more vulnerable to radiation induced cancers. In addition, CsI has high efficiency to preserve the visualization of fine details for a more accurate diagnosis.

Carestream’s DRX Plus 2530C Detector uses Csl for these highly dose-sensitive little patients, and its smaller pixel pitch delivers improved image quality for diagnostic confidence. This small-format, wireless DR detector is also quick and easy to position in incubator trays, while providing fast performance for instant access to images. The 2530C also offers the benefits of Carestream’s X-Factor –meaning it can be shared with other Carestream DRX equipment. With its flexible positioning and easy handling, the DRX Plus 2530C also is ideal for orthopaedic imaging.

Another option for limiting dose is our DRX-L Detector for long-length imaging. Capturing high-quality long-length images for a patient’s leg or spine radiographs can be difficult – especially with pediatric patients or patients with limited mobility. With the wireless DRX-L Detector, a long-length imaging exam can be completed with a single exposure, in  less than one second; and image preview is available in six seconds.

In comparison, image acquisition for multi-shot long length imaging can take 14 seconds or more—and that time savings can mean a lot for a fidgety child or patient in pain.

Multiple exposures also require images to be stitched together for a complete image. Because the DRX-L detector is a single exposure, there is no need for stitching multiple images, contributing to more precise measurements for better diagnosis and treatment planning. This is another strong option to achieve the lowest possible overall exposure without sacrificing image quality. The DRX-L is also a shareable member of our DRX family of DR detectors.

3. Image quality: quicker imaging and enhancements to help with faster, easier diagnosis  

Image processing software works hand in hand with the detector. And of course, Carestream is well known for our strong image processing.

Carestream’s advanced Eclipse image processing provides a wide variety of enhancements to make X-ray exams faster, easier and more productive. Some notable applications that we offer are:

  • Tube and line visualization, which accentuates PICC lines, CVP lines, GI tubes and more to help with a fast diagnosis.
  • Pneumothorax visualization, which accentuates the appearance of free air in the chest cavity.
  • Bone suppression which enhances the visualization of soft tissue.
  • Automatic grid detection and suppression of grid artifacts.
  • SmartGrid, which gives the same image quality without the physical use of a grid.

Our Eclipse engine automatically adjusts and tailors image processing to provide noise suppression and detail enhancement, which makes the subtle abnormalities that can be difficult to detect much easier to see and diagnose. Our Eclipse engine powers the software platform that supports our DR detectors.

4. Workflow: improve your radiographers’ efficiency

DR detectors, especially wireless ones, have exponentially decreased the amount of time it takes for radiographers to perform imaging exams, which in turn has made X-ray imaging much faster and easier for patients.

With a digital detector, patient images that once had to be processed through a film processor or CR reader are now available seconds after exposure. In addition, mobile imaging is becoming increasingly popular in facilities. DR gives an immediate image at the patient’s bedside. If additional exposures are required, there is no need to disturb the patient for a second time, saving precious time for both the radiographer and the patient. Before selecting your next  detector, spend time observing your radiographers’ workflow.

  • Are they doing bedside imaging?
  • Are detectors being shared among multiple rooms or mobile units?
  • Where do they charge your detectors? If they are doing a significant number of bedside images, consider a portable that has in-bin charging on the unit.

Another way to improve workflow is to lighten the load. The CARESTREAM Lux 35 Detector is a lightweight, glass-free wireless detector ergonomically designed with the comfort of patients and radiographers in mind. Weighing just around 5 pounds, the sleek 14” x 17” (35 cm x 43 cm) Lux 35 Detector, with its glass-free sensor, is Carestream’s lightest detector to date. A lighter detector makes it easier for radiographers to transport while making rounds and performing bedside exams. The cesium detector also offers superb resolution, better detail and a reduced exposure dose as compared to gadolinium detectors.

Also note whether your patient load shifts between departments at different times. If yes, that is another reason to choose a detector that is shareable so it can go wherever it’s needed most: rounds in the morning… an X-ray room during the day… and the ER at night.

Photo of a X-ray detector.
With the X-Factor Detector Platform, our wireless DRX Detectors work across all your DRX equipment to provide images with superb speed and quality.

Lastly, do your radiographers move among different facilities? If they do, consider purchasing detectors and other imaging equipment that share the same software. That helps your radiographers be more productive. They can easily move from one device to another within your facility. It also means that when you add a new detector, radiographers can get up to speed quicker, which reduces training costs.

5. Price: Get the most functionality and flexibility for your budget

Of course price matters, especially when budgets are limited…which is always the case!

Our Focus 35C/43C Detectors, with Image Suite V4 Software, powered by the Eclipse engine, allows the benefit of DR without replacing your current equipment.

Specifically designed for smaller facilities and private and specialty practices, such as orthopaedics, chiropractic and veterinary, this  is an affordable way to go digital. Our wireless Focus Detectors with ImageSuite Software offer a simple and intuitive user interface, automated workflow with uniform protocols, a Windows 10 Platform for added cybersecurity and other advantages to increase your productivity each day to support a higher standard of care for your patients.

Before purchasing any detector, it’s important to review all its features to make sure it will fit your facility’s needs and help you to acquire the best imaging possible at a cost you can afford. I hope these guidelines will help you make an informed decision.

Learn more:

11 Tips to Protect Your Detector

Security Within Our DR Detectors

White Paper: DRX Plus Detectors

Photo of Kevin Odorczyk.

Kevin Odorczyk  is the worldwide product line manager for DR Detectors at Carestream Health. He has contributed to multiple Directview CR and DR products over the past 20 years.


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