Preview: Radiography companies embrace portable detectors

November 16, 2010

When the gatekeepers clear the way to the exhibit halls at McCormick Place, Canon USA will be out with its CXDI-70C Wireless Digital Radiography System, but it won’t be alone. A gaggle of vendors, including Carestream and Fuji, will be showing portable x-ray detectors as well.

When the gatekeepers clear the way to the exhibit halls at McCormick Place, Canon USA will be out with its CXDI-70C Wireless Digital Radiography System, but it won’t be alone. A gaggle of vendors, including Carestream and Fuji, will be showing portable x-ray detectors as well.

Carestream will be doing an encore presentation, as the company last year kicked off the trend toward portable detectors with the release of its DRX-1. This year the company will showcase the latest model of its wireless DR detector, the DRX-1C (cesium iodide). The cassette-sized DR detector delivers improved detective quantum efficiency (DQE) thanks to its cesium iodide scintillator.

Canon’s new portable detector, the CXDI-70C, will be making its first RSNA appearance. But it was first shown at the Association for Medical Imaging Management (AHRA, formerly American Healthcare Radiology Administrators) annual meeting in August, shortly after having received FDA clearance for marketing in the U.S. Weighing just 7.5 pounds and offering a 14 x 17-inch imaging area, the CXDI-70C incorporates a new Canon-developed glass substrate with a pixel pitch of 125 microns; pixel pitch of current DR systems is 160 microns.

Canon’s CXDI-70C Wireless also features a cesium iodide scintillator, which delivers high-quality images while reducing the x-ray exposure to the patient. Without the cable required by its Canon predecessors CXDI-55G and CXDI-55C, the newly available wireless DR detector combines handling similar to film-cassette x-ray systems with the immediacy of digital imaging.

Designed for general radiography exams including orthopedic, trauma, pediatric, and other specialty environments, Carestream’s DRX-1C uses the same battery and electronics as the DRX-1, which preceded it. Similarly, it can be used with all three DRX-based imaging solutions: the DRX-Evolution radiography suite, DRX-1 System for upgrading analog radiography rooms, and DRX-Mobile Retrofit kit for upgrading mobile x-ray units.

Fuji Medical USA will debut its work-in-progress FDR D-EVO Wireless. The new system, which has yet to clear the FDA, is designed to provide all the benefits of a standard 14 x 17-inch cassette with the flexibility advantages that accompany wireless detectors.

Fuji plans to position the new detector as it has its cabled version, as a cost-effective way to upgrade analog x-ray systems to digital. For customers who need an immediate way to do so, Fuji will hawk a version that connects to radiography equipment through a cable. The cabled FDR D-EVO began shipping to U.S. sites in late August. Images are transmitted to the technologist’s workstation in as little as three seconds with nine-second cycle times between exposures.

Agfa will showcase its DX-D 100, a portable DR new to the U.S. market. The heavy-duty mobile DR system was shown earlier this year as a work-in-progress at the European Congress of Radiology. It features a 15-inch touchscreen; is compatible with Agfa’s portable DR detectors, including the DX-D 20G; and runs MUSICA2 image-processing software.

Given the surge of wireless detectors, the decade-old way of converting analog systems to digital, computed radiography, is sure to feel an impact. Rumors that CR is dead, however, are greatly exaggerated.

CR will remain a viable alternative to DR, say vendors, who will continue developing the technology, particularly for cost-constrained customers. Carestream will show a new tabletop CR, the DirectView Vita CR System, primarily for use in independent imaging centers, clinics, and multiphysician offices, as well as chiropractic and veterinary facilities. Beginning in November, the Vita CR system will be available for bundling with optional Image Suite software to create a mini-PACS solution that includes digital image capture, viewing, printing, storage, and management. Image Suite allows users to interface with other digital imaging modalities. It runs on a broad range of PC-based workstations with either standard or high-resolution monitors for reading.