Digital radiography can reduce scoliosis x-ray exposure

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1990 Sep;15(9):880-5. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199009000-00008.


Digital radiology is a new computerized system of acquiring x-rays in a digital (electronic) format. It possesses a greatly expanded dose response curve that allows a very broad range of x-ray dose to produce a diagnostic image. Potential advantages include significantly reduced radiation exposure without loss of image quality, acquisition of images of constant density irrespective of under or over exposure, and reduced repeat rates for unsatisfactory films. The authors prospectively studied 30 adolescents with scoliosis who had both conventional (full dose) and digital (full, one-half, or one-third dose) x-rays. They found digital made AP and lateral image with all anatomic areas clearly depicted at full and one-half dose. Digital laterals were better at full dose and equal to conventional at one-half dose. Cobb angles were easily measured on all one-third dose AP and on 8 of 10 one-third dose digital laterals. Digital clearly depicted the Risser sign at one-half and one-third dose and the repeat rate was nil in this study, indicating digital compensates well for exposure errors. The study indicates that digital does allow radiation dose to be reduced by at least one-half in scoliosis patients and that it does have improved image quality with good contrast over a wide range of x-ray exposure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Protection
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement
  • Scoliosis / diagnostic imaging*