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Mobile C-arms: Is the era of flat panel detectors and 3-D technology upon us?

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | March 10, 2016
From the March 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

VesselNavigator can be used for all types of endovascular procedures, but one of its main applications is guiding the treatment of aortic aneurysms. It’s difficult to precisely position the stent when using conventional X-ray imaging, which leads to more contrast being used. VesselNavigator works by fusing live X-ray images and MR and CT images of the patient’s vascular structures. That gives the clinician 3-D, color-coded images of the vessels, which improves real-time visual guidance.

What’s to come?
Siemens’ Reid and Ronald Tabaksblat, business leader for image-guided therapy systems at Philips, believe that 3-D imaging will become more popular in the OR. Jason Launders, director of operations at ECRI, agrees that there is a big need for 3-D in the OR. “I believe the possibilities of 3-D and CT like imaging on a C-arm are underutilized,” says Tabaksblat. “Imagine a trauma patient not needing to be transported first to a CT and subsequently to an interventional lab, but being sent directly to a hybrid OR specifically tailored for this type of patient? Wouldn’t that provide major benefits in time to treatment and less risk of moving the patient?”

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GE’s Molani thinks that a bigger shift in the marketplace will be in terms of efficiency. “I think the universal need is going to be efficiency and workflow, so that is where we will be focusing more of our attention,” she says. ORs are usually crowded, with an abundance of equipment that is necessary, but poses ergonomic and safety concerns for the hospital administrators, directors, staff and surgeons. GE is focusing on OR integration to make sure that all of the elements of the OR, including C-arms, work together seamlessly.

Most of the experts interviewed agree that FPD will become the standard for mobile C-arms in the future. Cost is one of the main hurdles standing in the way, but that will no longer be an issue when the price of the technology goes down. “Image intensifiers will become increasingly expensive and the flat panels will come down in price. They are coming down in price in other areas, so they will come down here,” says Launders.

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