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  • Writer's pictureAcme Spine & Orthopaedics

What Is A C-Arm?


The staff here at ACME Spine & Orthopedics often gets asked a variety of questions in regards to surgical c-arms, so we thought we would start a simple blog series that helps answer those questions. The most commonly asked question by individuals new to mobile c-arm systems is: What is a C-Arm? So we are here today to answer just that.





What Is A C-Arm? A mobile C-Arm is a medical imaging device that is based on x-ray technology and is used for x-ray in Pain Centers, ER, Hospitals, and other Physician offices.

The C-arm was introduced in 1955 and the technology is rapidly changing each year. Today, mobile imaging systems are a crucial part of everyday life: Specialists in fields such as surgery, orthopedics, traumatology, vascular surgery and cardiology use c-arms for imaging during normal procedures. The devices provide high-resolution x-ray images immediately, allowing the physician to monitor progress at any point and can make any immediate corrections. Hospitals, surgical centers, and clinics benefit from cost savings through fewer follow-up operations due to this preventative measure.





Why is it called a C-arm you ask?

The name simply comes from the C-shaped arm used to connect the x-ray source (the x-ray tube) and x-ray detector (the image intensifier) to one another.

How Does A C-arm Work?

A c-arm’s general makeup is a generator and an image intensifier or flat-panel detector. The C-shaped connecting allows movement in all directions so that images of the patient can be produced from almost any angle.

The generator emits X-rays that penetrate the patient’s body and the image intensifier or detector catches the x-ray and converts it into a visible image that is displayed on the C-arm monitor. The physician can identify and check details on the image such as bone structure, blood flow and other various images often captured with x-ray.

That’s pretty much the basics of a surgical c-arm.






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