Assessment of Image Quality in Digital Radiographs Submitted for Hip Dysplasia Screening

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Digital radiography is widely seen to be forgiving of poor exposure technique and to provide consistent high quality diagnostic images. Optimal quality images are however not universal; sub-optimal images are encountered. Evaluators on hip dysplasia schemes encounter images from multiple practices produced on equipment from multiple manufacturers. For images submitted to the Danish Kennel Club for hip dysplasia screening, a range of quality is seen and the evaluators are of the impression that variations in image quality area associated with particular equipment. This study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that there is an association between image quality in digital radiography and the manufacturer of the detector equipment, and to demonstrate the applicability of visual grading analysis (VGA) for image quality evaluation in veterinary practice. Data from 16,360 digital images submitted to the Danish Kennel Club were used to generate the hypothesis that there is an association between detector manufacturer and image quality and to create groups for VGA. Image quality in a subset of 90 images randomly chosen from 6 manufacturers to represent high and low quality images, was characterized using VGA and the results used to test for an association between image quality and system manufacturer. The range of possible scores in the VGA was −2 to +2 (higher scores are better). The range of the VGA scores for the images in the low image quality group (n = 45) was −1.73 to +0.67, (median −1.2). Images in the high image quality group (n = 44) ranged from −1.52 to +0.53, (median −0.53). This difference was statistically significant (p < 0.001). The study shows an association between VGA scores of image quality and detector manufacturer. Possible causes may be that imaging hardware and/or software are not equal in terms of quality, that the level of support sought and given differs between systems, or a combination of the two. Clinicians purchasing equipment should be mindful that image quality can differ across systems. VGA is practical for veterinarians to compare image quality between systems or within a system over time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number428
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • digital radiography, hip dysplasia scheme, image quality, PCA, visual grading analysis

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