Developments in digital radiography (DR) may have held the high ground of x-ray imaging on the RSNA exhibit floor this year, but technical improvements in surgical C-arms,
Developments in digital radiography (DR) may have held the high ground of x-ray imaging on the RSNA exhibit floor this year, but technical improvements in surgical C-arms, conventional radiography/fluoroscopy, and angiography equipment were exciting, even extraordinary in some cases. Advanced software applications in x-ray have flourished as well, particularly in 3D imaging and digital displays. (At least two vendors showed work on putting together full spinal digital shots for use in scoliosis applications.)
Phosphor-plate computed radiography (CR) suppliers continue to improve that technology, which is maintaining a digital niche alongside emerging DR products. Some new DR equipment was introduced by start-up firms at the show, including a whole-body trauma scanner out of South Africa and a portable DR system developed by a small R&D firm in conjunction with Canon
Reenergized under the Agfa HealthCare moniker, the company highlighted an array of CR developments.
Canon Medical Systems
The company is seeking to establish itself as a single source for the purchase of digital radiography and PACS. DR products revolve around the use of amorphous silicon flat panels.
R/F offerings play second fiddle to the company¹s DR technology, which is only beginning to emerge as a market player.
Del Medical Imaging
Radiographic, mammographic, R/F, and x-ray portable equipment is marketed to hospitals and orthopedic and primary-care centers, as well as nursing homes and home healthcare services.
The company balances CR and DR offerings, hoping to capture both ends of the digital spectrum.
Edge Medical Devices
SMART flat-panel detectors for digital radiography represent the company¹s mainstay in x-ray.
Fujifilm Medical Systems
Specializing in electronic and radiographic imaging technologies, Fuji CR was highlighted.
GE Medical Systems
One of the earliest pioneers of digital radiography, GE has sought to extend flat-panel technology into all aspects of x-ray. Radiography is the cornerstone of this strategy.
Once exclusively a bone densitometry firm, this vendor has grown rapidly through acquisitions and is now having to trim down and regain focus. As part of this effort, a decision was made late in 2001 to stop supplying standard radiographic equipment, largely the systems purchased with Continental and Bennett X-ray. Focus is now being put on DR, and women¹s health products.
Retrofitting conventional systems with digital imaging chains has become a primary business at Infimed. The Stingray DR technology, fashioned around an amorphous silicon flat-panel detector supplied by Trixell, is the enabler.
Although best known for mammographic products, the company also provides surgical C-arm (Ziehm) and maxillofacial (Orthopantomograph, Sigma digital sensors) products.
Film provides the base for this company, but CR technology is taking an increasingly high profile.
Lodox Industrial Development
This start-up firm is focused on developing a new full-body CCD-based DR system for trauma applications. The system, called Lodox, was originally developed to detect diamond thieves exiting South African mines. Three prototype systems have been produced and sited, all in South Africa.
Orex CR Technologies
Formerly known as Digident, the company makes ³personal² CR systems for customers with budget constraints.
Philips Medical Systems
The company¹s investment in Trixell, a joint venture with Siemens and Thales, is the foundation for its DR offerings.
Shimadzu Medical Systems
X-ray devices provide the base for this multimodality company, whose corporate involvement in radiography goes back more than a century.
Siemens Medical Systems
A multinational provider of x-ray equipment, Siemens highlighted advances in x-ray angiography.
A major proponent of digital radiography, SwissRay focuses most advanced R&D efforts into its proprietary direct digital radiography (ddR) systems.
Toshiba America Medical Systems
The multimodality vendor is refocusing its business to accentuate in-house development, while bringing in suppliers to cover weaknesses. X-ray remains one of the strengths of the company.
Varian Medical Systems
Varian X-ray Tube Products produces high-performance tubes for a range of modalities, including CT, mammography, R/F, and special procedures. Varian Imaging Products is developing large area sensing technology (LAST) imagers based on amorphous silicon sensor panels.
The DR vendor has initiated a per-scan DR service, including seven-year storage of images for about $3 per scan, or less than the $4 to $5 normally spent on film and chemicals per scan. The manufacturer would maintain ownership of the DR system, allowing hospital users to enter DR with no capital-cost risks.