Flat Panel Detector VS.Image Intensifier: Which Is Better For C-arm Machines


Over the past few years, a growing number of C-arm technologies have begun to embrace the same trend that the industry has seen in interventional labs, which is a shift from traditional image intensifier to digital flat panel detector (FPD).

Flat Panel Detector
Image intensifier

With more options for FPD available, anyone considering a C-arm purchase could be faced with a significant decision. Image intensifier or digital flat panel detector?

Both technologies have their own advantages, from system functionality to device size. If you are looking for a mobile surgical C-arm, I hope the following information will help you make the right purchase decision.

Image Degradation

Although image intensifiers can provide high-quality images for a few years, image quality can degrade over time. In addition, convex input phosphors can produce distortion in the peripheral field of view.

On the other hand, flat panel detectors display minimal image degradation over a longer time period compared to image intensifiers. The flat plate design also eliminates geometric distortion.

There is also a difference in imaging smaller structures in the patient’s body. Compared to image intensifiers, flat panel detectors offer higher contrast resolution with the benefit of additional grayscale.

Together, these two points provide an accurate view of anatomical structures that may be out of focus with an image intensifier, particularly if the system has been in use for several years and has shown obvious fatigue.

Radiation Dose

Another important difference when it comes to flat panel detectors and image intensifiers is the radiation dose.

While the technology that powers both systems has made tremendous strides in recent years, there is a limit to how much an image intensifier can achieve. It is a simple fact that flat panel technology is almost always a lower dose than image intensifiers, about half as much as the latter.

If keeping the dose low is your top concern, then your decision is simple: flat panel detector.


Although the flat panel detector is shorter than the image intensifier, this leaves you with more room to maneuver. This is a definite positive when you are operating on larger patients, as it allows you to maintain precise control without sacrificing ergonomic comfort.

However, if you are dealing with simpler cases, such as pain management, rather than more complex procedures that require precise motions and measurements, then the machine size may not be a decisive factor.


Image intensifiers may be a lower-cost option compared to flat panel detectors. FPD is a relatively new technology, while image intensifiers have been present since the 1950s. In addition, flat panel detectors tend to offer better image quality, and their development reflects the latest advances in technology.

When it comes to cost, image intensifiers almost always cost less than flat panel detectors. However, the costs mentioned here do not necessarily consider the need for service; for example, image intensifiers may have increased maintenance costs due to degradation and the need for replacement parts.

With the advent of more options, the cost of many flat panel detectors has been significantly reduced compared to just a few years ago.


Flat panel detectors and image intensifiers each have their own strengths. Your final decision depends on your needs. If you are looking to purchase a C-arm system for your facility, Perlove Medical can help you determine what model is best for your needs.


Rencent News