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Quality Assurance of Image Processing and Viewing Facilities

Poorly produced radiographs may have to be re-taken, exposing the patient to unnecessary doses of radiation. To ensure that poor image production does not compromise diagnostic information:

Develop written protocols (see Written Procedures and Protocols)for:

  • the use of digital sensors, phosphor plates, plate readers or processing equipment, as appropriate;
  • changing and preparing processing chemicals and cleaning automatic processors, if used.

Where a digital system is used, ensure that phosphor plates, digital sensors and monitors are subject to quality assurance such as regular visual and radiographic checks and keep a record of these checks (see Digital Detector Check Record Sept 2022 template (Word)and Digital Monitor Check Record Sept 2022 template (Word)).

  • Refer to your Medical Physics Expert for advice on these checks if required.
  • Remove any damaged equipment from use.

For film-based imaging systems and viewing conditions:

Check regularly (at least every 12 months) that processing units or darkrooms, if used, are light-tight (this can be done by processing an unexposed film) and keep a record of these checks (see Radiograph Processing Unit/Darkroom Light Test Record Dec 2014 template (Word)).

Check that films and processing chemicals, if used, are in date and are stored properly and keep a record of these checks (see X-Ray Film Stock Records Jun 2012 template (Word)).

Monitor the performance of processing using a test object such as a step-wedge and keep a record of these checks.

Keep records of the cleaning of radiograph processing units and the changing of the developer and fixer (see Radiograph Processing Unit Cleaning Record Jun 2012 template (Word)and Developer and Fixer Changing Record Jun 2012 templates (Word)).

The ‘Guidance Notes for Dental Practitioners on the Safe Use of X-ray Equipment’ [1] provide details of quality assurance checks for digital and film-based image processing and viewing.

Sources of Information

  1. Guidance Notes for Dental Practitioners on the Safe Use of X-ray Equipment(2nd edition) (2020) Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK)