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Special report: C-Arm technology is in a foot race

by Olga Deshchenko, DOTmed News Reporter | April 04, 2011
From the April 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Herzmann said the technological advantages of FD systems, including a larger field of view, a reduction in distortion and a larger opening of the C-Arm for easier handling and better patient access, are also expanding the range of applications for the modality. Emerging procedures include brachytherapy, ENT surgery and craniomaxillofacial surgery, he said.

Ziehm anticipates that flat panel technology will continue to proliferate into the mobile C-Arm market. “The trend to FD technology is clear if you understand that image intensifiers still work with analogue technology,” Herzmann said. “Radiology departments around the world work with digital images –why would a surgeon still work with analogue C-Arms when he needs the best imaging quality in the OR?”

“The world is mobile and the ORs will be used in an interdisciplinary way. There is a need for flexibility in the hospital and this need will grow,” Herzmann said.

Another manufacturer that believes FD mobile technology is ready to meet the needs of caregivers is Philips Healthcare. The company shipped its first significant volume of FD systems in the first quarter of last year. “As the year’s gone on, more and more of our mix has shifted from image intensifiers to flat detectors,” says Mark Manum, director of marketing for the company’s OR channel.

To ensure a mobile system is comparable in the level of reliability to a fixed unit, Philips says it pays a lot of attention to heat management. “We make sure that our systems are optimized to perform not just in short cases, but also deliver performance through long cases and with bigger patients with dense anatomy,” says Manum.

Philips is also seeing a growing interest in the development of hybrid ORs. And many hospitals are looking at purchasing a C-Arm “as an intermediate solution or bridge, as they plan and build out a hybrid OR,” Manum says.

Philips recently introduced a new DICOM package for its Veradius FD system. “We’re also looking at some solutions related to wireless communication in the OR,” says Manum.

The company believes the C-Arm mobile market will switch over from II to FD-based systems in the near future and plans to move full steam ahead. Philips expects to have a second version of Veradius ready “by the time other flat detectors are introduced by other companies,” says Manum.

Another player in the FD mobile C-Arm field is OrthoScan. The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company initially entered the mini C-Arm market with an image intensifier-based system in 2009. But just last year, it introduced OrthoScan FD, the first mini C-Arm with a flat detector. It’s been on the market for about three months.

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