Sensor Wars!

by Larry Emmott on February 3, 2011

in Radiography

PSP vs. Sensor:

In my experience most dentists choosing digital x-ray systems are moving toward sensor systems like the one shown here and away from the PSP systems. For some back ground PSP refers to “Photo Stimuable Phosphor” sometimes the system is called “Phosphor Storage Plates”. But whatever the name it refers to the indirect digital x-ray system that uses a scanner. The best example of this is ScanX.

However I recently ran into a staff member who strongly preferred the PSP system over a sensor. I asked Dr. Adam Chen the Director of Clinical Operations for XDR Radiography about this. In his position with XDR he interacts with many dental practices and dental team members which gives him a broad perspective on the topic. Here is what he had to say.

“We humans are creatures of habit; so naturally the film like PSP would be the first preference due to handling characteristics similar to film. For any change to our usual way of doing things, one must first analyze the purpose of applying a new technology. One must ask if the new technology will improve the efficiency, accuracy, work flow, and the economics of any process.

First, the PSP user does not have the immediacy of feedback a corded direct digital sensor will give. When common radiographic errors occur; like cone cuts, patient movement, and geometric distortion; these errors will be obvious with the direct digital sensor as soon as the image is displayed just seconds after the x-ray exposure. Conversely, these errors will not be detected until the entire PSP exam has been scanned minutes after the event.

Second, In terms of user ergonomics, the direct digital sensor provides a more efficient workflow, and therefore is easier to use.  For instance, when capturing an FMX, the radiographic images in the layout are automatically displayed in the correct corresponding position in the layout, in the correct orientation without any additional user input.  For the same to occur with a PSP scanner, the user must first label all the PSP plates in some type of sequential order, next, the user must take the FMX in the same order, and then lastly the user must scan the PSP plates in the same sequential order for the images to be displayed properly.

A planar direct digital sensor allows the imaging software to use mathematic algorithms to scale an image in one or two preferred directions. Alternatively, as in XDR, the ability to un-distort an elongated image.

In terms of durability, the direct digital sensor will not have the limited life span and degradation of image quality the PSP will exhibit when the surface scratches and or creasing from bending.”

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