I would be the first one to say, up until last year, ‘ Don’t even bother with Stationary Anode C-Arms with 2~5kW tube since it lacks power’. In fact, I even wrote an article about it: Rotating vs. Stationary Anode on C-Arm I was always curious about Ziehm since their Solo model, which as a Stationary Tube, didn’t have a reputation for being too weak. But I wrote it off as a one-off case and decided that it only survived because it’s a compact unit.
But then I heard about the Ziehm 8000. Siemens has a whole line of Cios that have Stationary Anodes, and, of course, GE has their Brivo line.
Early in my 13 year C-Arm career, I tried selling Stationary Anode C-Arms and the systems simply did not have enough power for anyone above 200 lbs… But that was over a decade ago…
In recent weeks I have been working to uncover the truth behind these new products; I was reminded of one obvious factor, technology advances. Light bulbs, Monitors, Computers, and even Christmas Lights are smaller now… although Christmas Lights are more about the trendy look than about function. Of course, LED lights are definitely smaller and require less electricity.
The same change can be found in car engines; many new car models often have 4 cylinders as a standard offering instead of the V6. According to a Shop Talk section of an auto repair company, a 4 cylinder engine, today would outperform the V6 from 1991. So perhaps, not all Stationary Anodes may be the same… especially if I’m making a judgment on the newest custom-built Stationary Tube with one that I experienced 13 years ago, based on technology in the early 2,000’s
Digging in deeper, I was able to find ‘Right Dose / SmartDose‘ information by Ziehm. According to this page and Ziehm’s whitepaper on SmartDose, they use ‘Smart’ Dose Management and OBJECT DETECTED DOSE CONTROL (ODDC) to achieve quality images with a lower dose. Ziehm explains this is how they can lower their dose without compromising image quality.
Finally an explanation!
Some technology advancement like Flat Detector versus Image Intensifier is obviously noticeable. In contrast, others, such as the Efficiency of Stationary Tube, are not obvious since there’s no visual change to the system.
Another company that has notable, similar Stationary Anode technology with Ziehm is Skanray. Skanray creates its own custom X-ray Tube based on Italian technology. Their Stationary Anode tube on the Skan-C model features ‘Zero-G’ where the entire tube housing is a vacuum, allowing a dramatic increase in efficiency of the tube. This technology results in more power and faster cooling, allowing the imaging of heavier patients over 300lbs+ and allowing the tube to maintain maximum exposure for over 10 minutes continuously.
Technologies like SmartDose and Zero-G are truly promising because they seem to be responsible for the ‘Rise of Stationary Anode C-Arm’
If this trend continues, I think it’s possible to see even more stationary Anode C-Arms coming out with upgraded, efficient tubes. As this happens, it will create a more competitive marketplace where customers will have more choices, and pricing should be more competitive. If you ask me, that sounds like a Win-Win scenario.