Comparison of digital and conventional musculoskeletal radiography: an observer performance study

Radiology. 1990 Apr;175(1):225-8. doi: 10.1148/radiology.175.1.2315485.


Interpretations of 122 musculoskeletal radiographs were compared with interpretations of their digital counterparts at a resolution of 1,024 X 840 X 12 bits. Images were evaluated by four readers and included subtle and nonsubtle abnormalities and normal findings. Joint receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis results were averaged over all readers and demonstrated no statistically significant difference between the two imaging methods. High interobserver variability limited identifiable differences. Review of cases with subtle findings on the digital system at a resolution of 2,048 X 1,680 X 12 bits (2.5 line pairs per millimeter) revealed adequate visualization of the abnormality in every case. It is concluded that a resolution of 1,024 X 840 X 12 bits is adequate for the interpretation of many musculoskeletal abnormalities but that a resolution of 2,048 X 1,680 X 12 bits is needed for visualization of some subtle abnormalities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bone Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Muscular Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Observer Variation*
  • ROC Curve
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement*