By Rebekah Moan, staff writer
November 6, 2013

Who knew that when x-rays were discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm Röntgen, the technology they spawned would still be so relevant and undergoing so much change more than 100 years later? The scientific sessions, poster presentations, and refresher courses at RSNA 2013 reflect x-ray's staying power.

First of all, how do you ensure proper exposure, what's the best technique, and what about optimum radiation dose? In a multisession course on Thursday from 9:20 a.m. to 10:20 a.m. (MSRT52, Room N230), radiologic technologist Dennis Bowman will discuss all this and more. He promises you can take the information back to your facility and immediately make changes in the way you expose and critique your images.

In another multisession course on improving practice in pediatric skeletal radiography on Thursday from 3:40 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. (MSRT56, Room N230), Maryann Hardy, PhD, will explore how knowledge of skeletal development during childhood can prevent the misapplication of image acquisition techniques and quality assessment criteria, as well as the misinterpretation of normal developmental variations.

A medical physics refresher course, titled Medical Physics 2.0: Radiography (RC421, Room E351), is not to be missed on Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Newer advances have addressed a number of prior shortcomings, but they have also introduced new challenges, such image postprocessing; it's praised as one of the assets of digital x-ray, but has often been underutilized. In this refresher course, participants will receive a historical perspective on these topics and information on areas worth the focus of the medical physics community.

Another area to focus on comes from a poster out of Japan about current techniques and clinical usefulness of digital tomosynthesis for chest imaging: What the Radiologist Needs to Know (LL-PHE4182, Lakeside Learning Center). Dr. Haruhiko Machida will describe basic principles and current techniques, demonstrate various nonmammographic digital tomosynthesis applications by presenting clinical images, and illustrate the clinical advantages, limitations, and optimal strategies of digital tomosynthesis.

Speaking of digital tomosynthesis, that's one of the hot topics at RSNA 2013. Digital tomosynthesis comes up in terms of lung cancer screening with the question being, can it replace CT? Find out for yourself in two scientific sessions, one on Monday, December 2, from 11:10 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. (SSC04-05, Room S404AB) and another on Tuesday, December 3, from 3:00 p.m. to 3:10 p.m. (SSJ06-01, Room S404CD), as well as a poster presentation on Thursday, December 5, from 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. (LL-CHS-TH1B, Lakeside Learning Center).

What's interesting about x-ray is that it remains in monochrome format, even as most commercial imaging techniques, such as photography, films, and display, evolved from monochrome to color. That could be set to change, according to Dr. Hye Sun Hwang from Samsung Hospital in Seoul, South Korea. In a poster presentation on Thursday from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. (LL-CHS-TH1A, Lakeside Learning Center), Hwang and colleagues will show the feasibility of color radiography, even though it's not practical yet. Perhaps it will be a game changer within the next decade? Check out the poster to find out.

Last, but certainly not least, on Wednesday morning Dr. Shoichi Takekawa will share information gleaned about Japan's radiation dose levels in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant incident (10:50 a.m.-11:00 a.m., SSK11-03, Room S405AB) -- an important global story for sure.

See below for previews of digital x-ray-related scientific sessions and posters at this year's RSNA meeting. To view the RSNA's listing of abstracts for this year's scientific and educational program, click here.

Scientific and Educational Presentations
Could digital chest tomosynthesis replace CT for lung cancer?
Monday, December 2 | 11:10 a.m.-11:20 a.m. | SSC04-05 | Room S404AB
Italian researchers have found that digital chest tomosynthesis is comparable to CT for detecting noncalcified lung nodules, and they will report their study findings in this scientific session.
Grayscale monitors may improve image quality
Monday, December 2 | 12:15 p.m.-12:45 p.m. | LL-INS-MO5A | Lakeside Learning Center
In this Monday presentation, researchers will discuss how adding a grayscale monitor may improve the precision and accuracy of technologists' assessment of image quality prior to submission for radiologist interpretation.
More readers translates to more lung nodules detected
Monday, December 2 | 3:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m. | SSE22-03 | Room S403A
Using multiple readers to detect lung nodules in chest radiographs should be used as a measure for improving the performance of computer-aided detection, according to Dutch researchers.
The future is here: Motion-sensor workstations
Tuesday, December 3 | 10:40 a.m.-10:50 a.m. | SSG15-02 | Room S404AB
Japanese researchers have come up with a method that allows radiologists to control image viewing during angiography procedures without touching a workstation.
Nanotube array makes stationary chest tomosynthesis possible
Tuesday, December 3 | 10:50 a.m.-11:00 a.m. | SSG15-03 | Room S404AB
In this scientific session, researchers will discuss the feasibility of constructing a stationary chest tomosynthesis scanner using a nanotube-based x-ray source array.
Canadian researchers develop new method for measuring DQE
Tuesday, December 3 | 11:20 a.m.-11:30 a.m. | SSG15-06 | Room S404AB
Detective quantum efficiency (DQE) is a common method for determining the performance of digital x-ray detectors, but a new model for calculating DQE may be needed to ensure high-quality images and low patient exposures with new digital detector designs, according to Canadian researchers.
Keep the skeletal survey for multiple myeloma
Tuesday, December 3 | 12:45 p.m.-1:15 p.m. | LL-MKS-TU2B | Lakeside Learning Center
A skeletal survey is a useful imaging tool for the initial staging of multiple myeloma, particularly in countries where MR resources are limited, U.K. researchers will report in this presentation.
Digital chest tomosynthesis outperforms conventional x-ray
Tuesday, December 3 | 3:00 p.m.-3:10 p.m. | SSJ06-01 | Room S404CD
Digital chest tomosynthesis significantly improves the detection of pulmonary nodules compared with chest x-ray and is recommended for imaging nodules of actionable size, according to a study to be presented on Tuesday at RSNA 2013.
DR, CR benefit from antiscatter grid
Tuesday, December 3 | 3:10 p.m.-3:20 p.m. | SSJ06-02 | Room S404CD
In this presentation, researchers will describe how using an antiscatter grid in adult bedside chest exams significantly improved perceived image quality for both mobile digital radiography (DR) and computed radiography (CR).
Ditch chest x-ray for tuberculosis, researchers say
Tuesday, December 3 | 3:30 p.m.-3:40 p.m. | SSJ06-04 | Room S404CD
Screening chest radiography among people with positive tests for asymptomatic purified protein derivative is a low-yield study for detecting active tuberculosis (TB), so it may be time to reconsider this universal recommendation, according to New York researchers.
Next-generation CAD improves diagnosis
Tuesday, December 3 | 3:50 p.m.-4:00 p.m. | SSJ06-06 | Room S404CD
In this afternoon scientific session, researchers will discuss how adopting next-generation computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) could improve time to diagnosis in patients with lung cancer.
More work required to erase radiation in Fukushima
Wednesday, December 4 | 10:50 a.m.-11:00 a.m. | SSK11-03 | Room S405AB
The amount of radiation in Fukushima City, Japan, after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in 2011 has decreased due to the removal of contaminated surface soil and tree leaves. However, some radiation still remains, and more effort to remove contaminated materials is necessary, researchers will report in this Wednesday session.
Ultralow-dose protocol possible for idiopathic scoliosis
Thursday, December 5 | 12:15 p.m.-12:45 p.m. | CL-PDS-TH2A | Room S101AB
In this poster presentation, researchers will discuss how an ultralow-dose protocol using a biplanar slot-scanning digital x-ray system with optimized acquisition parameters can be used to monitor idiopathic scoliosis, allowing further dose reduction.
Consider dual-energy digital tomo for pulmonary nodules
Thursday, December 5 | 12:45 p.m.-1:15 p.m. | LL-CHS-TH1B | Lakeside Learning Center
Dual-energy subtraction digital tomosynthesis can facilitate the detection of pulmonary nodules, according to research from Japan in this poster presentation.
Microdose CT can replace chest x-rays
Thursday, December 5 | 12:45 p.m.-1:15 p.m. | LL-CHS-TH3B | Lakeside Learning Center
Microdose CT can replace chest x-ray for lung nodule detection, while keeping radiation dose to comparable levels, Swiss researchers have found.