by Gus Iversen
, Editor in Chief | November 11, 2015
From the November 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
There are also cost benefits. Craig points out that on average an X-ray costs a hospital roughly $70 whereas an MR exam may be in the range of $1,000 to $1,500. Other imaging exams may be superior for visualizing soft tissue, but for high resolution images of dense structure and bone, or seeing inside the chest cavity, there’s nothing like X-ray. It produces the majority of medical images for just about any hospital, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
Fluoroscopy is on the move
Fluoroscopy, a moving image X-ray, is essentially as old as radiography itself. Yet while X-ray has firmly cemented its place as an essential part of medical imaging, fluoroscopy’s success has been somewhat hampered by other advancements. According to Craig, fluoroscopy’s usage fell off in the last five to seven years. “Certain procedures are migrating out to other modalities, be it CT or the bigger interventional cath or vascular labs, where image quality is better because of the technology,” she says. Recently however, it seems to be undergoing a resurgence in popularity. At Hennepin County Medical Center, Taber says that a lull in fluoroscopy exams came to an end roughly three years ago.
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“We’re doing different types of exams now, so it’s not so much the barium contrast exams, but it’s more joint injections, pain injections. It seems like we’re doing more arthrograms with MRI follow-up,” she says. For Heidi McIntosh
, marketing manager for Global X-ray Solutions at Carestream Health, dynamic flat panel detectors deserve credit for the uptick in fluoroscopy. “Moving from image intensifier to the flat panel detector has made fluoroscopy rooms more valuable because it allows them to be able to do both fluoroscopy and also radiography,” she says.
Her company recently introduced the DRX-Excel and DRX-Excel Plus to meet the needs of clinicians who want the versatility to do both exams with a single system. It’s Carestream’s first foray into fluoroscopy, and she says part of its advantage is that it’s a remote fluoro room instead of a patient-side (or nearby) room. Patient-side fluoroscopy has the image intensifier or detector above the patient and the X-ray source below — but a remote fluoroscopy room flips that around so it’s the same as a r with the image capture happening below, explains McIntosh.
According to Niepel, Siemens is the only OEM that currently offers dynamic flat panel detectors for patient-side fluoroscopy systems. That system, the Luminos Agile Max, can also be customized for radiographic procedures.