Digital radiography: the balance between image quality and required radiation dose

M. Uffmann and C. Schaefer-Prokop

European Journal of Radiology 2009;72(2):202-208.


Although the transition from conventional screen-film imaging to digital image acquisition has been almost completed during the last couple of years, examination parameters, such as tube voltage, tube current, and filtration have been adopted from screen-film technology without further adjustments. Digital systems, however, are characterised by their flexibility: the acquisition dose can be reduced at the expense of image quality and vice versa. The imaging parameters must be optimised according to the best performance of a particular system. The traditional means of dose containment, such as positioning and collimation, are as valid for digital techniques as they were for conventional techniques. Digital techniques increasingly offer options for dose reduction. At the same time, there is a risk of substantially increasing the patient dose, possibly unawares, due to the lack of visual control. Therefore, implementation of dose indicators and dose monitoring is mandatory for digital radiography. The use of image quality classes according to the dose requirements of given clinical indications are a further step toward modern radiation protection.