, Volume 15, Issue 9, pp 1934-1947
Date: 02 Apr 2005

Flat detectors and their clinical applications

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Abstract

Diagnostic and interventional flat detector X-ray systems are penetrating the market in all application segments. First introduced in radiography and mammography, they have conquered cardiac and general angiography and are getting increasing attention in fluoroscopy. Two flat detector technologies prevail. The dominating method is based on an indirect X-ray conversion process, using cesium iodide scintillators. It offers considerable advantages in radiography, angiography and fluoroscopy. The other method employs a direct converter such as selenium which is particularly suitable for mammography. Both flat detector technologies are based on amorphous silicon active pixel matrices. Flat detectors facilitate the clinical workflow in radiographic rooms, foster improved image quality and provide the potential to reduce dose. This added value is based on their large dynamic range, their high sensitivity to X-rays and the instant availability of the image. Advanced image processing is instrumental in these improvements and expand the range of conventional diagnostic methods. In angiography and fluoroscopy the transition from image intensifiers to flat detectors is facilitated by ample advantages they offer, such as distortion-free images, excellent coarse contrast, large dynamic range and high X-ray sensitivity. These characteristics and their compatibility with strong magnetic fields are the basis for improved diagnostic methods and innovative interventional applications.