Computed radiography uses x-ray–sensitive plates to directly capture data during the patient examination, immediately transferring it to a computer system . Advantages include time efficiency through bypassing chemical processing and the ability to digitally transfer and enhance images. Also, less radiation can be used to produce an image of similar contrast to conventional radiography.
The purpose of CR is to produce accurate radiographic images without the use of film, thereby streamlining the storage, display, and transmission of patient data. Because CR allows the radiographer to correct images immediately following exposure, the need for retake exposures is dramatically reduced. In a CR system, corrections made in the image are relayed to the radiographer through an s number. This value tells the radiographer whether the system had to brighten or darken the image, and to what degree, in order to produce a usable image. The adjusted image can then be copied on a CD.
In addition to providing clear diagnostic images, CR simplifies the process of transmission for purposes of consultation. CR images can easily be sent to other physicians or facilities for consultation via computer networks. Furthermore, CR systems permit considerable reductions in the cost of storage space for diagnostic images. Given the rapid rise in operating costs of full-service radiology departments, many newer facilities and some larger hospitals have installed CR systems.