Why is the image intensifier C-arm gradually being replaced by the flat panel detector C-arm?

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At present, C-arm X-ray machines on the market can be divided into two types: image intensifier C-arm and flat panel C-arm. The former uses an image intensifier, while the latter uses a digital flat panel detector. The imaging principles of the two are fundamentally different.

Image intensifiers were introduced in the 1950s, which provide real-time imaging by converting X-rays that penetrate the human body into visible light and brightening the image. Once exposure is stopped, the image disappears. In order to perform image processing, the image intensifier needs to cooperate with the camera system, and the image is converted into an electrical signal for processing after being captured. So its imaging process is time-consuming and prone to loss of image information and increased noise. Due to low resolution, the image quality is also not ideal.

The new technology of digital tablets developed in the 1990s. The imaging principle is that after X-rays pass through an object, they undergo varying degrees of attenuation and act on the scintillation layer. X-ray photons are first converted into visible light and then converted into electrical signals by amorphous silicon photoelectric layers, stored in capacitors. The electrical signals are then converted into digital signals, and finally stored and processed in memory to display the image on a monitor.

Comparison of image intensifier C-arm and flat Panel detector C-arm

From a technical principle perspective, the flat panel C-arm has many advantages, and is superior to the shadow augmentation C-arm in terms of image quality, imaging speed, field of view, and dose. In the past 15 years, the C-arm X-ray machine market has shifted from image intensifiers (IIs) to flat panel detectors (FPDs). Although many hospitals still use shadow enhanced C-arms, it is an undeniable fact that they will be phased out by tablet C-arms.

As a more advanced technology, digital flat panel detectors are also widely used in interventional therapy, such as the mobile flat panel intervention C-arm PLX7100A designed specifically for peripheral intervention therapy. It is equipped with a new large-sized amorphous silicon dynamic flat panel detector, which has a larger field of view and can achieve full coverage of the chest, abdomen, and pelvic cavity, reducing exposure times, radiation dose, avoiding overlapping omissions, and shortening surgical time.

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