UC Radiologic Science Department Has Gone Filmless!
Technological advancements in medical imaging continue to revolutionize the profession. Such advancements typically are found in major medical centers and outpatient facilities; however, the University of Charleston’s administration has once again shown their commitment to delivering quality education. The radiologic science faculty and students have the availability of their new state-of-the-art imaging equipment. Previously, the program’s two activated x-ray labs permitted students to practice imaging techniques using x-ray film and then processing the image with wet chemistry in an automatic processor. UC's radiologic science students will now practice using their new AGFA CR35 x Digitizer and Workstation.
Computed radiography (CR) requires a reusable imaging plate in place of the film. This plate employs a coating of photostimulable storage phosphors to capture images. When exposed to x-rays, electrons inside the phosphor crystals are excited and trapped in a higher-energy metastable state. The CR reader scans the plate by means of a laser beam. The laser energy releases the trapped electrons, causing visible light to be emitted. This light is captured and the analog signal is converted into a digital image through algorithmic computations. The image can then be previewed on a computer workstation within seconds of the exposure, the contrast and brightness can be adjusted if necessary, and the image is stored. The main functions of the workstation software are to:
- Control digital image acquisition
- Display and analyze digital images
- Manage information and data
Joan Clark, Chair of the Radiologic Science Department, worked closely with Frank Fallin, Agfa Account Executive, to make this vision a reality. Clark believes this addition to the program will provide students with value-added radiology education. Since the majority (approximately 90%) of the clinical affiliates in the Charleston area have the CR technology, our students will be productive in the real-world experiences they will encounter when they begin their clinical rotations. Student-learning and medical-imaging patient care will be enhanced as a result of this high-tech upgrade.