Radiology technicians often ask for best practices for protecting Digital Radiography (DR) detectors. My number one suggestion is to handle them with care.
Many medical imaging providers have upgraded from Contrast Radiography (CR) to Digital Radiography imaging because the technology is more efficient, quicker, and, most importantly, requires less dose to the patient. With fast and efficient DR technology, providers can see more patients and gain higher utilization of their assets.
However, a broken DR cassette can bring the streamlined workflow to a halt. Following are 11 tips to help protect your investment in this crucial piece of diagnostic imaging equipment. Additionally, it’s important for administrators to ensure they have educated radiology technologists about the value of the DR asset. Some radiology technicians might not understand that the investment in a Digital Radiography X-Ray (DRX) detector – and thus the financial impact of damage – is much greater than the CR cassettes they handled in the past.
One effective tactic is to make analogies to luxury items to help reinforce this point. When technologists make the connection that the cost of a DR detector versus a CR cassette is similar to the cost difference between a Corvette Z06 and an economy model Kia, they are more likely to understand the need to handle it with care. This new understanding, paired with training on proper handling, is crucial to protecting your imaging investment.
Read and share these 11 best practices for protecting your X-ray detectors.
11 tips for handling X-ray DR detectors
1. Always use a weight-bearing protective cover for bariatric and podiatry studies. Applying weight on the detector without protection can result in cracking, dirt/dust accumulation and damage. The highdensity frame and clear top can offer protection up to 800 lbs; and the easy lift handle can make removal and carrying much easier.
2. Never leave the detector propped against a wall or on the floor. It can easily bump or slip to the ground causing damage. When the detector is not in use, store it in a wall detector pocket.
3. When inserting the DRX detector into a bucky, be sure to engage the bucky clamp to lock it down. This secures the detector and can reduce concern about the detector moving in the bucky or jamming.
4. If the detector is placed on a table,be sure it is completely flat on the table and that no part of the detector is hanging over the edge. A detector that is not completely flat on the table is more likely to bump and slip and hit the floor.
5. Never carry a detector by grabbing the corner. A DRX detector should always be carried under your arm with a firm grip on the bottom of the detector. It should be kept close to the side of your body to prevent drops.
6. If the detector is placed between a patient’s two legs, stabilize the detector using a bent knee. The bent knee reinforces the detector and limits the amount of unsecured area that could cause the detector to tip and fall.
7. If the detector is placed on the table and a hand is placed on top to be imaged, move the patient so there is enough room to have the entire detector lying flat on the table. At no time should the detector overhang the edge of the table.
8. To remove the detector from a portable grid and detector holder, lay the grid holder flat on the table and slide the detector out. Do not turn it vertical and shake the detector out of the grid and holder. This limits the chance that the detector could slip and fall off the table, or be damaged when it hits the table.
9. When replacing the battery in the detector never slide it in at an angle. Always keep the battery low and straight when sliding it back into the detector. Note that the detector has built-in power management and will automatically enter standby or sleep mode after periods of inactivity in order to maximize battery life. Batteries have a capacity of around 340 images per charge, with a standby time of 14 days. Batteries are rated for 500 charge cycles.
10. Bagged detectors should always be carried with a firm grip on the side and bottom of the detector. Never carry the detector by the top of the bag. The bag could break and the detector could slip from it and be damaged. Always keep a firm grip on the side and bottom of the detector, and carry it close to you above your waist.
11. Standard procedures when working in an environment where bodily fluids are present, call for bagging the detector before use. This will prevent fluids from spilling onto the detector. However, if fluids do come in contact with the detector, wipe it thoroughly with disinfectant wipes. Also, the battery can be removed and cleaned.