CR/DR systems get smaller, easier to use

January 9, 2006

Having promised and largely delivered cost savings and increased efficiency, vendors of CR and DR are stepping up efforts to smooth the transition to digital, focusing on flexibility and ease of use. System manufacturers are designing products for every segment of the imaging environment from full-scale general radiography suites to point of care, automating the process of image acquisition, and implementing advanced technologies that improve image quality. At the 2005 RSNA meeting, vendors highlighted manageability, displaying systems that can rest on a desktop or move from room to room as well as products that can capture a wide variety of projections with a minimum of manual adjustments.

Agfa HealthCare

In addition to the classic x-ray film, hard-copy solutions, RIS/PACS, and speech technology markets, Agfa HealthCare is active in computed radiography. After revamping its product line last year by renaming and upgrading the CR 25.0, 50.0, and 75.0 systems for centralized and decentralized environments, Agfa introduced this year the DX-S for point-of-care CR in general radiology, pediatrics, and the emergency department. DX-S makes use of DirectiX needle-based detector technology to create a crystal matrix that reduces light spread in the scintillator layer, thereby minimizing scatter and sharpening sharp images. DX-S also employs line-to-line Scanhead technology, which accelerates throughput.

  • DX-S, capable of processing 120 to 180 plates per hour, provides precise image quality up to 10 pixels/mm or 5 line pair/mm. The product has a small footprint, measuring 12.6 x 30.7 x 33.4 inches in size and weighing approximately 150 pounds.

Alara

Privately held Alara, which produces dental, medical, and nondestructive testing systems, moved into CR two years ago with the launch of its CRystalView compact CR system. The desktop system was cleared by the FDA in October 2003.

  • The compact CRystalView R 2000 weighs 120 pounds and measures 26 x 32 x 15 inches. The system processes more than 50 plates per hour for 14 x 17-inch cassettes at a resolution of 6 pixel/mm. It scans smaller cassettes at a rate of 60 to 66 plates per hour and a resolution of 9 pixel/mm.

Anexa

After introducing the SyneRad MULTI freestanding single selenium detector system in 2004, Anexa followed with the SyneRad OMNI/OMNI RT in 2005. A DR system with a selenium-based detector, SyneRad OMNI is available as a freestanding single detector for the emergency department or as a dual detector with a fixed table.

  • SyneRad OMNI has a 17 x 17-inch detector imaging size and spatial resolution of 3.6 line pair/mm. The system offers SyneVu software, which creates a "procedure-driven" user interface.

Canon Medical Systems

Sporting the imageANYWARE tagline, Canon Medical Systems offers a full range of wall/upright, table, and portable amorphous silicon flat-panel digital radiography systems, including the light and compact CXDI-31 and the portable CXDI-50G with a large (14 x 17-inch) image area as well as the CXDI-40G and CXDI-40C general radiography systems.

  • The CDXI-31 and CDXI-50G portable and tabletop systems have been designed to accommodate patients on stretchers or to facilitate weight-bearing studies. A snap-on grid for the CDXI-50G allows abdominal imaging.

  • CDXI control software features easy image adjustment, multifrequency processing, image masking, and an offline modality work list for mobile applications.

  • DR Image Viewer software has pan, zoom, and measuring tools such as Cobb angles, an optional stitching application, and a work list that can be customized to users' preferences.

Eastman Kodak

The provider of DirectView DR systems since 2000, Eastman Kodak showed the newest additions to its cesium iodide line of flat-panel detector systems. The company also displayed accessories to its DirectView CR systems and upgrades to the portfolio of point-of-care CR products it acquired from Orex Computed Radiography in early 2005.

  • DirectView DR 7500, shown as a work-in-progress at last year's RSNA meeting, is now available for sale. The system has a unique wall stand capable of movement along three axes to capture cross-table, horizontal, and upright projections. The DirectView 7500 also has a fixed elevating table with four-way float for flexibility in positioning patients.

  • DirectView DR 3000, a work-in-progress, has a motorized floor-mounted U-arm design for performing a wide range of general radiography examinations, including cross-table projections. The cesium iodide flat-panel detector provides a 17 x 17-inch imaging area.

  • DirectView CR Long-Length Portable Imaging System for Kodak's DirectView CR line captures full spine or lower extremity examinations with an image size of 14 x 33 inches. The grid has been integrated into a wheeled caddy so the system can be moved from room to room.

  • Point-of-care CR 120, 140, and 260 systems (formerly Orex ACL2, ACL4, and ACLxy60 units) have a new scanner interface that improves the efficiency of communication between the CR scanner and other applications.

Ferrania Technologies

Owned by a consortium of Italian industrialists, Ferrania Technologies produces a family of DR products that use the 43 x 43-cm Trixell Pixium 4600 flat panel. The LifeInVision DR systems are capable of configuring themselves for different examinations and provide an image within three seconds.

  • LifeInVision DR 961 for general radiography of patients in standing, sitting, or prone positions displays images on a high-resolution 19-inch color thin film technology LCD monitor. The unit does not require a ceiling mounting, as it can be mounted on a wall or the floor. The tube detector can be aligned by rotating the U-arm.

  • LifeInVision DR 942, for variable focus examinations of the chest, extremities, skull, and spine as well as for patients on stretchers, uses an overhead x-ray tube and has a vertical stand.

  • The robotically controlled LifeInVision DR 982 automatically positions the detector in any projection needed for a general radiography exam.

Fujifilm Medical Systems

Not content to rely on the same storage phosphor detector technology it has been using in its DR systems since 2001, Fujifilm Medical Systems has introduced a new technology known as Focused Phosphor to increase the detective quantum efficiency (DQE) and image clarity of its detector. Fuji also has released three new CR readers.

  • Focused Phosphor technology, expected to be available on Fujifilm systems in the second quarter, presents storage phosphor-based material in a column-shaped crystalline structure, which improves the signal-to-noise ratio. The columnar architecture of the phosphor dramatically decreases light scatter, and the thicker phosphor design doubles DQE.

  • FCR Carbon XL and Carbon X CR readers are similar in their size and features. Each of the two new units occupies only 2.41 square feet of floor space, and each offers Fuji's three-step exam processing Flash IIP pantomography in an imaging plate of 15 x 30 cm. The units differ in configuration. Carbon XL is suitable for small or medium-sized facilities that demand high throughput and image quality. Carbon X is intended for remote or low-volume facilities with less demanding workflow.

  • FCR ClearView-1 is a single-cassette CR system that uses the same patented dual-side reading technology and 50-micron pixel sampling of the FCR ClearView-CS to achieve high spatial resolution and DQE.

GE Healthcare

Built on a foundation of flat-panel detector technology using amorphous silicon, GE's new Definium 8000 DR system features such advanced clinical applications as Auto Image Paste and Volume RAD. Auto Image Paste automatically acquires and processes as many as five images of anatomic structures that do not fit in the span of a traditional detector - the spine and legs - without any visible seams. Volume Rad acquires a series of low-dose projection images in a single sweep of the x-ray tube over a limited angle to produce high-resolution slice images that can be viewed on a workstation.

  • Definium 8000 has a DQE of 77% and a spatial resolution of 2.5 line pair/mm. Its software offers intelligent collimator edge detection, smart windowing, a dose exposure indicator, and automatic protocol assistance.

  • Definium AMX 700 is a portable DR system with a 16 x 16-inch field-of-view, digital touchscreen display, digital microprocessor controls to ensure accuracy and consistency, and 0.75-mm focal spot tube to enhance image quality.

Imaging Dynamics

Specializing exclusively in DR, Imaging Dynamics is building on its core series of products that rely on patented passive trigger technology. By activating a CCD detector without requiring a generator interface, passive trigger technology allows users to create their own customized systems in their existing technologic environment. Additions to the IDC family of products, which range from the Xplorer 1500 upright DR system and 1600 U-arm motorized unit to the 1800 multipurpose machine, include a dual-detector inpatient system and a dedicated orthopedic scanner.

  • Xplorer 1590 is a fully motorized DR system for general radiography. For easy patient positioning, the CCD can rotate 90° in a vertical or horizontal direction, and the stand can swivel 180°.

  • Xplorer 220 encloses one detector in a fixed, elevating table and situates another in a wall mount to provide the advantages of cassetteless DR without the cost and positioning adjustments of a single detector system.

  • OrthoXP, designed specifically for orthopedic imaging, is IDC's lowest priced DR system.

InfiMed

With first half profits up 18% and revenues up 22% over the same period last year, InfiMed continued on a growth path that began in 2003. The sales spurt has been fueled by increases in OEM sales, as well as direct sales of the StingRay Excel and PlatinumOne product lines.

  • StingRay Excel has a 17 x 17-inch amorphous silicon/cesium iodide detector, automatic image optimization, exam-specific processing, EdgeEnhance software for both tissue and bone, and image processing that includes pan, zoom, windowing, and leveling.

  • Newest members of the cardiology product line include PlatinumOne Cardiac and PlatinumOne ComboLab, which offer such advanced features as left ventricular analysis and quantitative coronary analysis and customized cine/spot/fluoro acquisition and review.

Konica Minolta Medical Imaging USA

Konica Minolta launched the Regius 370 CR system at the 2005 RSNA meeting. The detector, based on cesium bromide, sharpens images by creating a straightforward path for x-ray energy utilization.

  • The Regius 370 upright CR has two scanning resolutions (87.5 micron and 175 micron), making it suitable for a wide range of clinical applications. A 17 x 17-inch fixed-plate CR reader handles any type of upright imaging, including chest, abdomen, and extremity studies. The Regius 370 is compact at 2.5 feet wide and 5.2 feet tall, and quick, with a preview time of only 10 seconds. Like its predecessor, the Regius 350, the 370 supports x-ray tube synchronization and autocollimation, and it is able to interface with a variety of x-ray equipment.

  • Version 2.0 software upgrade for the Xpress CR product line allows users to add customized notes and observations to CR images as free-floating text. It also gives users the opportunity to review data on other control stations and gain access to the Departmental Data Analysis package, which tracks resource utilization by monitoring user and reader performance.

Philips Medical Systems

Since introducing the DigitalDiagnost line in 1999, Philips Medical Systems has released a succession of DR systems built around flat-panel detectors. Early in 2005, the company unveiled the DigitalDiagnost Compact multipurpose unit. The company also launched the PCR Eleva family of CR systems.

  • The DigitalDiagnost Compact general radiography DR system has a 17 x 17-inch flat detector mounted on a fixed multipurpose stand with a tilting and swivel arm, a trolley with four-way floating tabletop, and a ceiling-suspected tube carrier.

  • PCR Eleva systems run the gamut from step-in digitalization option to full digital environment. The systems have the Eleva workspot intuitive user interface, UNIQUE multiresolution image processing, Eleva concept streamlined and customized workflow features, reject analysis, and an integrated virus scanner.

  • OmniDiagnost Eleva combines DR and CR with conventional imaging applications. The system moves the x-ray beam around patients so they can remain stationary during scanning. It also has a left- or right-sided suspended tabletop for increased patient accessibility and provides complete system control from any location in the exam or control room. The DoseWise set of tools reduces radiation dose, and ViewForum software integrates image viewing and processing from other modalities, such as CT and MRI.

Quantum Medical Imaging

Focusing on ergonomics, Quantum Medical Imaging has developed the QV-800 Digital Universe, which keeps the x-ray tube in constant alignment during C-arm rotation. The company also has added a motorized servo-drive feature to its Q-Rad systems.

  • Designed for hospital emergency departments, trauma centers, and general radiography suites, the QV-800 is a single-detector system with a motorized C-arm and variable source-to-image distance (SID) that facilitates exams done in standing, seated, or recumbent positions.

  • Motorized servo-drive with Q-Track technology synchronizes the central beam of the x-ray source and the center of the image receptor to eliminate the need for constant realignment of the tubestand. The combination automatically moves the tubestand into the proper position to image a patient and automatically maintains SID with the elevating table during vertical adjustments.

Radlink

Armed with an FDA clearance for its CR Pro, which was granted just before the RSNA meeting, Radlink is poised to bring its line of low-cost CR systems to radiology groups, diagnostic imaging centers, hospitals, and health clinics that cannot afford to purchase high-end imaging technology.

  • CR Pro, which is based on patent-pending sealed fiber-optic laser technology, has a footprint of 3.86 square feet. As a console-based unit, it can be wheeled anywhere in a facility. The system is being sold as a turnkey solution for portable, mobile, and remote applications.

Shimadzu Medical Systems

Incorporating a wide-view 17-inch direct conversion flat-panel detector, Shimadzu's RADSpeed Safire can produce 17 x 17-inch images with a resolution of 150 microns to capture large areas on maximum size film, including high-definition images of the full abdomen and wide area views for orthopedics. The company also showed its portable x-ray MobileDaRt system, featuring a 14 x 17-inch flat-panel detector.

Siemens Medical Systems

To its flagship Axiom Aristos FX DR system, Siemens has added a series of enhancements to improve workflow and patient throughput. The company also expanded the Axiom Multix M DR system by including advanced applications in orthopedics and trauma.

  • Axiom Aristos FX Plus has an enhanced system drive mechanism that expedites patient positioning and imaging, a redesigned detector housing unit that improves grid management with the touch of a button, wireless remote control, a 19-inch monitor, and a DICOM DX Object that aids interpretation by labeling the patient's position during scanning.

  • A new trauma/emergency department room configuration for the Axiom Multix M DR with a mobile flat detector takes imaging of critically ill and injured patients out of the radiology department. Software enhancements add scoliosis and long leg applications to orthopedic imaging.

Swissray International

A pioneer in digital radiography, Swissray is broadening its options for users by offering a choice between silicon flat-panel and quad CCD technologies. The company has incorporated amorphous silicon-based technology as an option for buyers of its ddRCombi Trauma system, as well as the new ddRFormula line. The FP-5000 flat-panel detector provides 3.5 line pair/mm spatial resolution at a low radiation dose because of its 70% DQE.

  • The ddRFormula, a C-arm-based DR system, is automated to center the x-ray tube to the detector. Advanced applications for the ddRFormula include the orthopedic imaging package, which comes with the ALLinONE-Stand and AutoStitching for quick and precise scoliosis evaluations and long leg studies. ALLinONE-Stand has a weight distribution indicator that provides feedback on positioning during weight-bearing examinations and captures data on height and weight to generate a body mass calculation. The Pediatric Package has special imaging algorithms and x-ray parameters to assure high-quality imaging at the lowest radiation dose.

  • Equipped with the silicon TFT flat-panel detector, the ddRCombi has a fixed or mobile patient table with an elevating base and the FollowMe function, which allows trauma studies to be performed efficiently by automatically focusing on the correct region of interest whenever the detector is moved.

Toshiba America Medical Systems

Strengthening its long-time association with Canon DR products, Toshiba America Medical Systems last year released the T.Rad Plus product line. Available in single- or dual-panel configurations with amorphous silicon detectors from Canon, T.Rad Plus has a 17 x 17-inch DR panel and flexible design. This year, Toshiba unveiled a new room configuration for the T.Rad Plus DR system with an adjustable table.

  • Key to the new room configuration is a Pivot table with a rotating base so users can quickly bring the table to the desired position for imaging patients. A removable 14 x 17-inch DR panel also can be easily repositioned to imaging needs.