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C-arms were first introduced into the market by Philips in 1955 for orthopedic surgery. Generally speaking, they use x-rays to produce a “live” image feed displayed on a screen. The device is in shape of a “c.” When renting a C-arm, know your application. C-arms are most commonly used for a variety of procedures in medicine, orthopedics, and surgery.
Common components on a C-arm include an image intensifier, x-ray source, imaging system, vacuum, and a workstation.
Rent in advance.
In order to get the best possible rate for your C-arm rental be sure to plan ahead. The KWIPPED network has multiple C-arm suppliers in locations around the United States, but you might choose a rental that requires the device to be shipped to you. Shipping C-arms requires a certain level of care to ensure no parts break. Keep this in mind when submitting your request.
Know your resolution required.
Depending on the type of procedure, you may need a higher resolution screen. Before renting a C-arm check the lines per inch of the device to determine your correct resolution. Resolutions typically range from 535 lines per inch to 1000 lines per inch.
Know the image intensifier of the device you need.
The size of the image intensifier will range anywhere from 7” to 13”. The most common is the 9” image intensifier, which typically has a magnification of 9/6/4.5 . If you need to rent a C-arm for general uses, the 9” image intensifier will work. 12” image intensifiers are needed for larger scale procedures, particularly in vascular, neurovascular, and complex orthopedics. Magnification for larger devices are 12/9/6.
Know the size of C-arm you need to rent.
The C-arm’s size is possibly the most important factor when renting. Most find the portable size c-arm is the best choice. They are smaller in size, making them more accessible in small spaces. A typical full size c-arm requires at least 10 feet by 12 feet of space. Regardless of size you choose, always determine whether the device has enough room to cool down during Fluoro. C-arms come in a variety of makes including mini, compact, full size, and extra large c-arms. Smaller C-arms are used for small extremity imaging, while larger C-arms can provide imaging for those who are obese.
A higher wattage C-arm is best to reduce risk, especially for obese patients. You also have greater flexibility with more power. When deciding which wattage your c-arm might require, consider your application. Most C-arms include a kW range from 7.5 to 12kW.
There are two types of x-ray tubes: Fixed and rotating anode tubes. When deciding which to rent, consider the following:
- Rotating anode tubes have longer exposure times for heat, therefore a longer tube life. They also cool down faster between usage, allowing more patients to be seen.
- Rotating anode tubes have greater image detail.
Work station size and settings
Your work station settings come with over a dozen different functionalities. In order to determine what you need to rent, decide on specific applications for usage, and align that with your rental request or a specific C-arm unit by browsing different manufacturer websites.
A lead shield protects adjacent rooms from radiation exposure. Depending on where you will use your rented C-arm, a lead shield might be a good option to project those around the device. Does your state require lead shielding? Regulations vary from state-to-state, by must be considered when renting a C-arm.
Though most C-arms will have general software for use, make sure you do not need special software requirements for your procedure.
General safety tips
Before using a rented C-arm, consider a few safety precautions for those who you will be x-raying. These precautions include
- Taking images at low-dose setting
- Position patient as far from the x-ray tube as possible
- Install a lead shield, and
- Use “pulsed” fluoroscopy to shoot photos to lower exposure times.
Common manufacturers of C-arms include General Electric, Amber Diagnostics, Philips, Shimadzu, Siemens, Brainlab, Ecoray Hologic