X-Ray Cassette Alignment and Centering System
The x-ray department is a principle source of income for hospitals and private practices. On average, 6% to 10% of all x-rays need to be repeated to produce an acceptably diagnostic radiograph. Of these repeat exams, most are for chest, abdomen, pelvis and spinal imaging. A primary reason for this repeat rate is improper x-ray cassette alignment. Incorporation of this alignment and centering technology will help reduce the average rate that x-rays need to be repeated thereby saving the facility time and money, and saving the patient and operator from excess radiation exposure.
This system is principally designed to be incorporated into portable x-ray machines where geometric radiographic measurements are generally accomplished by an operator’s best estimate. Most portable exams are ordered to study the chest, abdomen, pelvis, and spine which are, as mentioned above, also the most repeated. This system would bring a higher level of speed and accuracy to all portable exams. It would also accomplish this in the emergency and operating room, two places were speed and accuracy are essential. This technology includes a transmitter and receiver combination mounted on or inside the collimator of a portable x-ray machine. The transmitter/receiver combination would use very low frequency (VLF) metal detecting technology to discriminate and determine the distance from the transmitter/receiver of four partially shielded individual metals of specific shape, size, density, and magnetic properties integrated into the four corners of the cassette. When the operator turns the system on a processor and integrated memory are used to calculate the distance of these four metals when the cassette is moving in the three dimensions within its field of detection. With the distance of each of these four metals known, the system can then calculate cassette size, distance, angle, and vertical and horizontal alignment. This data would be displayed to assist the operator in cassette positioning to obtain diagnostic radiographs. This system will work with both digital and conventional imaging systems. This design allows these cassettes to be non-rechargeable, and require no more special maintenance than conventional or digital x-ray cassettes. It would also assist the operator in collimating to within the image receptor size to prevent excess radiation exposure to the patient and operator.
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