October 20, 2022
X-rays were first discovered at the end of the 1800s. In 1895 Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays, and just a year later, John Hall-Edwards used X-rays for the first time in clinical conditions to inspect a patient’s injury. A month later Hall-Edwards used X-rays for the first time to aid in a surgical operation.
Today X-rays are used in a number of ways to increase airport security, to check if artwork is authentic, in research and development, and to help diagnose problems in patients. Around 3.6 billion diagnostic medical examinations such as X-rays are carried out each year according to the World Health Organization. Hospitals, chiropractors, and dentists use X-rays to check for fractures, and soft tissue damage, and to check on the condition of teeth and jaw placements.
What are X-ray cassettes?
Unless digital radiography is being used, film or an imaging plate is required for an X-ray image to be created.
Cassettes are used to make sure no external light doesn’t compromise the process, and the best image possible is made. Films and imaging plates require radiation exposure. While the risk to the patient and dentist, or radiologist, is thought to be minimal, the shorter the exposure time the better. X-ray cassettes help the operator take a high-quality image more efficiently, therefore, reducing exposure time.
Not only do these cassettes also protect the film or imaging plate from contamination from light, but they also protect them from actual physical damage. Without a cassette, the film could be at risk from dirt, dust, and other potentially harmful contaminants.
How do you look after X-ray cassettes?
Medical and dental equipment is extremely costly. One report from 2018 showed that hospitals in the US spent around $200 billion on medical equipment and devices. Smaller hospitals with less than 25 beds averaged a spend of $2.24 million each that same year.
So, medical equipment must be looked after and maintained. X-ray cassettes can be cleaned to help keep them working efficiently and prolong their life. Lint-free wipes should be used along with screen cleaner. This combination can be used to remove any dust from inside the cassette, especially along the hinge, and in the corners.
One other way to protect X-ray cassettes is to use specifically designed covers. There are several different X-ray covers on the market, all with the same purpose; to protect cassettes.
For example, there are Radman Radiological's X-ray cassette covers which come individually cut or on mountable rolls. These are durable sleeves that protect not only the cassette itself but the patient and radiologist too.
What are X-ray cassette covers?
When an X-ray is taken, the cassette needs to be placed behind the patient. Effectively, the patient must be between the X-ray tube and the cassette. Once X-rays pass through the human body, they get picked up and converted into an image that will appear on the film or plate held within the cassette.
Some emergencies need immediate dental care, and these often involve the need for an X-ray to be taken. The cassette should be placed behind the head and shoulders of the patient to gain the most effective image. Due to how the cassettes are placed when X-rays are taken, there is a risk of cross-contamination.
Cassette covers help to reduce any chance of contamination by providing another barrier between external impurities and the film. The material used in these covers makes it easier to place the cassette behind patients, and easier to remove.
Good cassette covers will be made from durable material that is laceration-proof. Thus they can be slid under patients without being compromised. This saves time and reduces the need for lifting which reduces the risk of further injury to the patient.
These covers shouldn’t be confused with the type of X-ray holders that physically hold cassettes in place.
What are mobile and tabletop X-ray cassette holders?
These are metal stands, often fitted with wheels, that can be used to hold an X-ray cassette in place without movement. They can be positioned behind an upright patient, and the cassette can be tilted and moved into whatever position is necessary.
They have the benefit of holding a cassette in a stationary position which helps to make the best image possible. This can reduce the number of retakes necessary, saving the facility time and money in the process.
Table-top cassette holders serve the same function and can help the patient relax further. Cassette holders such as these are said to reduce the amount of radiation exposure to medical professionals and patients. They can be used in conjunction with X-ray cassette covers.
When can you use X-ray cassette holders?
X-ray cassette holders can be used when there is no need for the patient to be laying down. They can be positioned behind the patient’s head and angled accordingly. They are also necessary when digital radiology isn’t available.
Anytime that film or imaging plates are used, a cassette holder could potentially be of use.
Who can use X-ray cassette holders?
X-rays cannot be taken by just anyone. Anyone wishing to become a radiologist will need to complete a minimum of 13 years of training. They need to first attend medical school, complete a 4-year residency, then possibly specialized training for 1 or 2 years in a field such as pediatric radiology.
Similarly, dentists must complete a minimum of 5 years of study in dentist school and possibly 2 more years of supervised practice. Then they can obtain a dental X-ray license to be used when needed. Dental assistants may also need to be registered and qualified before assisting with X-rays.
Any of these medical professionals would be able to use X-ray cassette holders, and understand the proper time to use them, and when to position the cassette without a holder.
Why use an X-ray cassette cover instead of a cassette holder?
Cassette covers can be particularly useful in emergencies when the patient isn’t mobile or cannot easily be lifted. The cover allows the cassette to be positioned under the patient with ease and minimal lifting or manipulation.
The covers reduce the chance of contamination from surfaces that it touches, and from the patient. It wasn’t unusual before for pillowcases or plastic bags to be used to cover X-ray cassettes. Purpose-made covers provide a hygienic and disposable solution for covering the cassette holder, and they can reduce the risks of infection.
They protect the film and the cassette, and they help to save time and money by letting the technician carry out their work efficiently.
They can also help to reduce the chance of infection in the patient and can be combined with an X-ray holder. Dentists understand how to properly deal with dental pain and can use X-rays to properly diagnose problems. Holders can be positioned behind the patient, and a cover can be used to protect the cassette.
Using a cassette cover with a mobile or tabletop holder can prevent the casing of the cassette from surface damage. This helps to extend the life of the cassette, and further reduce costs.
X-ray cassette holders are either mobile or fixed. They are used when digital radiography isn’t an option, or when the patient’s condition requires the need for a mounted cassette.
When they cannot be used, then cassette covers can provide an alternative way to make the process efficient, and still obtain high-quality images. Covers make rolling or lifting a patient less necessary and this reduces the risk of further injury. At the same time, the cover protects the film from external contaminants such as dust.