Objective: A colour scale has been developed as a complement to the grey scale in radiographs. The aim of the present study was to compare colour-coded with conventional black-and-white radiographs in terms of the perceptibility curve test. Material and methods: Twelve digital radiographs were exposed on a test object from low to high exposures and recorded using the DIXI system (Planmeca Oy, Helsinki, Finland). An aluminium test object was used containing ten object details in the form of holes with depths ranging from 0.03 mm to 0.30 mm in steps of 0.03 ± 0.01 mm. The new colour scale was used to transform the conventional black-and-white radiographs into colour radiographs by specially designed software. Ten observers were asked to analyse four sets of radiographs, i.e. colour-coded and black-and-white radiographs, and reversed colour-coded and reversed black-and-white radiographs. The object detail having the lowest perceptible contrast in each radiograph was registered for each observer. Perceptibility curves were plotted based on the mean value of observer data. Results: Results from the perceptibility curve test showed that the information in colour-coded radiographs was at least as good as that in black-and-white radiographs. In fact, in the lower exposure range, colour-coded radiographs exhibited better perception than conventional black-and-white radiographs. Conclusion: Radiographs that are colour-coded with the applied colour scale may be used as an alternative to conventional black-and-white radiographs.
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