Digital Radiography Disadvantages


Digital radiography machines have become the health industry standard for imaging medical technology. The equipment uses computer software to generate images of the body in the way a traditional x-ray would but with much less radiation. Despite its many advantages, disadvantages still remain regarding the technology's effective use and successful integration into hospitals with low budgets.

Size and Resolution

  • In digital radiography, the image produced from the scan is relative to the size of the computer screen it is viewed on and the software being used to create the image. Compared with a traditional x-ray, this results in a smaller imaging size, which may obscure objects in the scan or cut them out altogether. Images may also lack the resolution necessary to correctly identify what is being viewed in the image. Without a comprehensive image, it becomes more difficult for medical personnel to make an effective diagnosis and recommend the best course of treatment.

Learning Curve

  • The incorporation of new technology has a less quantifiable disadvantage, which is the training of existing staff to use it. A hospital or diagnostic imaging center may incur additional expenses to pay staff members to be trained or to attend seminars and new certification programs to become competent using digital imaging technology. A hospital may also be required to hire new staff trained in how to use digital radiography equipment while existing staff is being trained, which further increases cost.

Expensive Equipment

  • Aside from training staff, the initial cost of purchasing digital radiography equipment is prohibitively high. According to, the initial cost of DR systems is more than twice that of traditional x-ray machines, with a price tag between $400,000 and $600,000. This does not include the networking and software costs needed to successfully integrate digital imaging machines into the hospital's existing network of computers.

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  • Photo Credit x-ray image by Claudio Calcagno from
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