Step Wedges are used in Radiology Quality Control Programs to test x-ray machine sensors and phosphor storage plates. Having a Radiology Quality Assurance Program is an important part of radiology compliance.
In June 2019 Texas x-ray rule 25 TAC §289.232(j)(14) was updated. It now specifies that users of digital imaging acquisition systems shall follow quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) protocol for digital imaging established by the manufacturer. If a protocol cannot be established by the manufacturer, it shall be developed and implemented by the registrant (dental office). CLICK HERE FOR MORE TEXAS Specific RADIOLOGY REQUIREMENTS
How to Perform a Step Wedge Test:
The following steps outline the procedure:
- Place the step wedge with the steps facing up over a sensor and position the x-ray field over the step wedge.
- Take an exposure.
- Record the Date, Sensor Serial #, X-ray machine used, kVp, mA, Exposure time, and Source-to-Image Distance. This information will be necessary to conduct this test in the future.
- Save this image as the reference image for that x-ray sensor as proof of testing.
- Remember, you are testing the sensor, not the x-ray machine!
Once a quarter or any time that you suspect that there may be a problem with your x-ray system, create another image in the same manner as described above. Compare this image to the reference image.
Step wedge images look like a grayscale image with gradual changes from white/light to black/dark. If you notice a change in density (color) of "2 steps", you are alerted that there is a problem and corrective actions should be taken before your radiographs deteriorate in diagnostic quality.
NOTE: The actual step wedge you receive may not match the picture of the product and/or may have a different number of steps on it. Neither of these affect the testing process.
To learn more about managing a compliant radiation safety program, check out our Radiation and Laser/Radiation Safety Manuals! www.DentalCompliance.com 817-755-0035
***This Product is NOT for use with panoramic machines. Check out our Pano Step Wedge product!****