X-ray marks the spot
When it comes to x-ray systems these days, there is something for everyone in any setting, from compact and mobile equipment and advanced viewing functions to improved efficiency and image quality.

Although CR has outpaced DR, the line is blurring as more vendors are offering hybrid solutions. DR systems offer more and more features and enhancements to ensure that the investment is well worth it, but CR vendors are offering more compact systems and systems that integrate a CR reader with the DR working environment. Whichever a facility chooses, they are sure to get a lot of bang for their buck.

Regardless of the intended use and setting, image quality gets better and better thanks to higher resolution. Images taken precisely and accurately the first time mean improved efficiency, reduced costs and less radiation exposure for patients.

Aside from better image quality, more 3D reconstruction capabilities were on tap. For example, real-time 3D reconstruction via one rotational scan will help clinicians better view vasculature and plan for complex vascular procedures.

Vendors also are supplying systems that allow for improved ease of use for technologists. From remote controls to displays right on the equipment to systems that only show the tool buttons applicable to the current exam, vendors are helping technologists work efficiently while providing the best patient care. Other features include multiple operator interfaces, the ability to set up automatic positioning and imaging acquisition requirements and tools such as individualized worklists.

Alara showcased its CRystalView R200 desktop CR system. Designed as a compact system small enough for desktop or mobile use, the CRystalView R200 system combines excellent image quality with a 50-plus-plate-per-hour output for a variety of clinical settings.

Agfa HealthCare introduced its new DX-S-I, an integrated DR system for all general radiology applications and particularly well suited for emergency rooms and pediatrics. Agfa also showed its latest digital x-ray image processing software MUSICA2 (multi-scale image contrast amplification), which offers improved image visualization and greater autonomy.

Agfa also demonstrated its new CR 30-X. This compact tabletop CR system with a single-slot digitizer is suited for decentralized general radiography, military field hospitals, orthopedics, dental, chiropractic, and veterinary use. It is available with NX, Agfa's image identification and quality control tool.

Canon CXDI-50CCanon Medical Systems spotlighted its newest DR systems — the Canon CXDI-50C Portable DR System and the Canon CXDI-40EC Premium DR System. The CXDI-50C features LANMIT 7 (Large Area New-MIS Sensor and TFT) detector technology and delivers high-quality diagnostic images efficiently with minimal x-ray exposure to patients. The CXDI-40EC is equipped with a large 17 inch x 17 inch imaging area for capturing x-ray images large and small with no need to adjust detector orientation.

Canon also displayed a full line of DR sensors integrated to a wide range of x-ray systems. With more than 40 percent of its business retrofitting, the Canon range of sensors allows for retrofitting of almost all current and older systems.

CMT Medical Technologies showcased its work-in-progress, the FlexiRAD, featuring a CR reader and dedicated software that enables full integration of the CR reader with the SmartRAD DR's working environment. Another work-in-progress was the SmartSPOT PrimaX FPD, a premium digital R/F and angiography imaging solutions, based on state-of-the-art Pixium 4700 Flat Panel Detector by Trixell. Another new feature for the SmartSPOT PrimaX product line is LFH (Last Fluoro Hold) which enables dynamic storage of the last fluoroscopy sequence.

Eastman Kodak Company debuted the KODAK DIRECTVIEW DR 9500, a new multipurpose DR system that features three operator interfaces to minimize the need for technologists to move during imaging exams. The ceiling-mounted U-arm tube and detector, combined with multiple operator interfaces, equips this single-detector system to perform exams that normally require dual detectors.

Fuji Velocity-UfpFuji Medical Systems USA introduced an entirely new DR product line, including a new DR detector, new DR table, and new U-Arm device for general imaging applications. Fuji's new solid state DR detector provides imaging performance with the highest spatial resolution and superb DQE. This detector is being introduced in Fuji's Velocity-Ufp and the Velocity-Tfp digital x-ray systems, which are both part of Fuji's SpeedSuite, a fully integrated digital room replacement. The Velocity-Ufp is a compact reader for chest and other upright exams. It provides exceptional throughput of up to 240 images per hour. The Velocity-Tfp is Fuji's new table system that can accommodate patient weights of up to 506 pounds. 

GE Healthcare showcased its new Innova 3131IQ digital flat-panel Biplane Imaging System. The Innova Biplane extends Innova's interventional imaging technology to multiple image planes.  This is the first system available that will cover the full size of the patient's lateral and frontal anatomy simultaneously for a variety of diagnostic and interventional procedures, using fewer images and contrast injections.

Also on display was the company's portable digital x-ray system, Definium AMX, which expands the reach of GE's digital flat-panel detector technology by meeting the needs of virtually any portable application.

Lastly, the company demonstrated its Lunar iDXA bone mineral density system designed for the detection, diagnosis, and treatment monitoring of osteoporosis.

iCRco demonstrated its iCR7200 Dual Bay CR system. The iCR7200 Dual Bay CR is the company's latest addition to its digital imaging solutions products line. It is designed to scan phosphor screens (CR plates) using patented technology and can simultaneously process two cassettes for rapid throughput of 180 full-size plates per hour, using two high-resolution CR bays.

The Dual Bay CR patented design incorporates a precise scan mechanism known as iCRco's flat scan path. Nothing touches the active area of the plate, and there are no stresses placed on the plate during the scanning process.

Imaging Dynamics Corp. showcased the Xplorer 1600 DR system. The single charge-coupled device (CCD) array of the Xplorer 1600 has an image preview area of 17" x 17" — the largest field of view for any CCD-based detector — and is comparable to tiled-array detectors of other flat panel systems that use as many as four panel arrays to span the same area.

IDC also introduced its new XM Series DR system, the first IDC fixed-table DR system with a single detector.

Imaging3 demonstrated its prototype Dominion system, a mobile, 3D, real-time medical diagnostic technology designed for 3D real-time fluoroscopic imaging, as well as emulating other medical imaging technology, such as CT scans, much more cost effectively.

Konica Minolta Medical Imaging showcased its latest software release for the REGIUS Xpress CR system. Version 2.10R01 features a more efficient workflow environment by enabling technologists to easily append studies, search for patient history and images, image zoom for quality assurance at the console, and list filters to adjust study parameters. Additional features include image inversion, screen output queue, and output of series description to PACS.

Konica also introduced its Blue Moon Lifecycle Products which are designed to lengthen, strengthen, and enhance CR performance over the lifetime of the Xpress or IQue systems.

Lodox showcased its Statscan Critical Imaging System, a flexible format DR system designed for high-throughput trauma, emergency, pediatric, orthopedic, forensic, and general radiography. Statscan takes x-rays of any size, up to a full body in 13 seconds, and because of its enhanced linear slot scan technology, the system eliminates scatter and reduces dose. In addition the work-in-progress VersaScan MD, a multi purpose self-contained and transportable DR system designed for general and orthopedic radiography, was exhibited for the first time.

Philips Allura Xper FD20Philips Medical Systems demonstrated enhanced interventional capabilities of its angiography suite. The Allura Xper FD20 captures twice the amount of clinical information at a resolution four times greater than conventional angiography systems. The Philips 2K imaging flat detector system with pivoting functionality is designed for a complete range of vascular procedures, both diagnostic and interventional. Allura 3D-RA integrates with the Allura Xper FD20 to provide real-time 3D reconstructions of complex vasculature using a single rotational scan.

Philips also showcased the MultiDiagnost Eleva with 3D reconstruction, which provides a full 180-degree C-arm rotation for quality images available from several patient positions. Additionally, Philips BV Pulsera's 3D reconstruction aids in visualizing complex structures intra-operatively.

Quantum Medical Imaging showcased its new QV-9000 Digital Universal Radiographic System offering newly automated positioning features. All positioning motions of this C-arm type system are fully motorized and synchronized for maximum patient throughput. The system can be easily positioned from either the digital operators control monitor or from Quantum's TechVision.

Quantum also introduced its latest DR generators, called the Q-VISION HF series, which have a 12-inch full-color touchscreen control and are available for both digital and conventional imaging.

Siemens Medical Solutions introduced the AXIOM Artis dBA Twin at RSNA 2006. The system, an innovative imaging system designed for universal angiography and the highly specialized field of neuroradiology, enhances Siemens syngo DynaCT software to provide new and more detailed viewpoints of tissue and organs.

The AXIOM Artis dBA Twin is a milestone in advanced biplane imaging. The system features the largest biplane anatomical coverage available, and is uniquely equipped with two 30x40-centimeter flat detectors. The AXIOM Artis dBA Twin provides flexibility across a complete applications spectrum, from neuroradiology to cardiac imaging, with fine detail resolution in 2D and 3D. State-of-the-art flat detector biplane technology delivers exceptional detail resolution to support both diagnostic and interventional decision making.

The system features a compact detector housing design that enables virtually unrestricted patient access, while also offering outstanding angulation capabilities. It delivers outstanding visualization from the common carotid artery up to the finest distal vessels during the venous phase. The AXIOM Artis dBA Twin also offers excellent support for pediatric applications where optimal dose reductions are critical, and supports the latest cross-sectioning 3D imaging techniques with the optional syngo DynaCT cross-sectional imaging capability.

Siemens also introduced the latest addition to its MOBILETT XP product line. The MOBILETT XP CR is the first mobile x-ray system to feature integrated CR reading technology and is designed to make digital imaging available to more facilities. The integrated monitor provides high-quality image display for first image review and image archiving right at the patient's bedside. The system's integrated CR reader with a reading capacity of 60 cassettes per hour enables it to serve as a centralized single plate CR reader for multiple rooms or ICUs.

In addition, Siemens showcased its AXIOM Luminos TF tableside fluoroscopy system, designed to accommodate the growing population of obese and bariatric patients. The system can support up to 600 pounds in the locked horizontal position and 500 pounds with table movement. Additionally, a spacious 55-cm-wide opening between the imaging table and intensifier enables larger patients to fit easily within the system. The larger space is also advantageous for applications such as swallow studies.

Swissray International introduced its newest DR system, the ddRCompact, which incorporates the new digital High Definition Silicon Solid State detector with Micro Lens Technology, delivering outstanding spatial resolution at low radiation dose.

Swissray also exhibited its APS (Automated Positioning System) designed to streamline radiography workflow by automating all positioning and image acquisition requirements. Seconds after exposure, a fully diagnostic image appears on Swissray's SwissVision workstation for review, storage, and follow-up.

Swissray also showcased its ALLinONE Stand for DR orthopedic applications, which facilitates the performance of special DR applications such as scoliosis and long leg studies.

Thales unveiled two new digital detectors currently under development: a large-format digital flat-panel detector for RF tables, and the first wireless portable digital flat-panel detector.

The Pixium RF 4343, the first all-digital large-format RF solution, is designed for RF tables, replacing conventional film and CR. The Pixium PORTABLE 3543, which will be the world's first wireless digital detector, is designed for all types of x-ray exams.

Toshiba America Medical Systems demonstrated its full line of x-ray offerings, including the T.Rad-PLUS Digital and Kalare systems. Designed for maximum flexibility, the ceiling-mounted T.Rad with portable DR panel is built with independently moving components and features a 700-pound table capacity and color touch-screen control panel for tableside operation. The Kalare R&F system incorporates a portable DR panel, creating a 100 percent filmless system. Both systems allow clinicians the flexibility to obtain images from any position without moving the patient.

Another highlight at the Toshiba booth was a works-in-progress — its first floor-mounted, multi-axis x-ray system and the latest addition to the Infinix-i series family — the Infinix VFi/BP/FD.

Varian Medical Systems showcased the PaxScan 2520V which replaces the 2520 for the cardiac and conventional C-arm market. The new panel eliminates the command processor and replaces it with virtual software. The 2520V delivers 14-bit grayscale contrast resolution by integration of new ASIC chip technology and is suited for applications utilizing nine-inch image intensifier tubes. The PaxScan 4030CB with Varian's second-generation Command Processor (CP2) is the company's panel for cone-beam CT imaging. This panel is suited for medical diagnostic x-ray equipment requiring a large 20-inch diagonal imaging area. It offers low-dose performance, achieved through the company's readout electronics and a cesium iodide scintillator.

VIDAR Systems exhibited the VIDAR VISION line of full-featured DR systems for all radiography environments. Featuring excellent image quality, rapid image acquisition, improved productivity, and ease of use, the price is comparable to CR systems. 

Ziehm Imaging highlighted its full-size Vision C-arms for use in surgical fluoroscopic procedures. The product is the first fully digital mobile C-arm incorporating an FPD. The company also showcased the Ziehm Quantum, a full-featured, self-contained mobile surgical C-arm.

X-ray Peripherals
AADCO Medical showcased X-drape, its new sterilized disposable surgical drape that can be placed within the sterile field over a patient’s body to absorb the radiation scattered from the patient. X-drape is made from AADCO’s proprietary non-leaded composite radiation absorbing material, X-Ban. AADCO also recently introduced MRI-Safe, a mobile examination lamp with a floor-mounted mobile base.

Fluke Biomedical demonstrated its 35080M199XAY Non-Invasive kV Divider and Medical ScopeMeter Kit designed to streamlines setup and analysis time and rids users of the need to spend calculating scope traces to derive kV values. The miniaturized Non-Invasive kV Divider is designed as a companion piece to the ScopeMeter for the service engineer or BMET that frequently needs to calibrate or assess kV performance with minimum setup time consumed.

RTI Electronics introduced the Piranha — a palm-sized, all-in-one x-ray multimeter. The standard detectors are built-in but additional probes for mAs, CT and light are available. Built in Bluetooth and a USB port. oRTIgo QA software — data is acquired directly from either the Barracuda or Piranha and is stored in the oRTIgo database. A large number of existing templates are available for a variety of tests.

Unfors Instruments unveiled a light probe for connection to the company’s Xi X-ray QA system. The light probe is compatible with all Unfors Xi Base Units and is capable of measuring luminance with a perfect cosine match for ambient light. Contact luminance measurements can be performed on CRT and LCD monitors as well as view boxes in the range of 0.05 to 50,000 cd/m2.