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 Your Guide to Medical Imaging Equipment

Enjoy these tips, tricks and insights that answer 100's of questions we've received from radiology and imaging professionals that need help buying, selling, servicing and maintaining their medical imaging equipment: MRI, CT, C-Arm, Digital X-ray, PET/CT and Women's Health. We extend the life of imaging equipment so that healthcare providers worldwide can extend the lives of patients. This is why we answer your imaging equipment questions.

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Which Used C-arm has the Most Power? The Winner is…

Posted by Chris Sharrock

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Mar 16, 2012 10:37:00 AM

:: 2 minute read ::

You’ve shopped around. You’ve taken a gander at the fruits the current used C-arm market is bearing. You’ve stuffed your gullet at the all-night Vegas-style buffet of sales pitches and slick brochures with their images of earnest-looking doctors and doe-eyed nurses. And yet, your thirst for C-arm knowledge is not quenched. No. You’re still left with a single burning conundrum:

Which Used C-Arm Has the Most Power?

To answer this question, we took four leading C-arms currently on the used imaging equipment market to task. At the end of our research, a decisive winner emerged. Read on to find out what we learned.

But, before we begin our adjudications, allow me to introduce our contestants:

  Most Powerful Used C-Arm 


The Criteria

Now, when the sheer power of a used C-arm comes into consideration you’ll want to know a few things up front:

  • How much total power can it generate?

Penetration power is a key feature to consider in a C-arm. For the orthopedic or pain doctor it will come into play while taking lateral abdomen or spine shots on large or obese patients. Without the proper power the image you take will be too dark. Dark images can be lightened up using post processing features on your C-arm but often times it will be too grainy and may require you to take several shots. For invasive vascular surgery you want the ability to do lateral abdomen shots, angiograms, and run offs.

  • How is that power partitioned?

All four of the above units have pulsed fluoro for reduced dose to the patient. It’s important to note that more power doesn’t necessarily mean more radiation for the patient. All of these units adhere to FDA safety regulations for dose. Be certain that your system is within proper calibration, dose has been measured by a physicist or engineer, and that you are using proper techniques to avoid excess radiation.

  • How hard and how long can I push the x-ray tube?

All four of these systems have rotating anodes, and that’s a good start. Rotating anodes have a higher heat capacity than fixed anode because the tube is actually rotating either in oil or water to keep it from overheating.

The Specs

Power is measured in several categories and it can get very technical. We have chosen to highlight and address just 5 separate categories – see below – to give a general idea.



OEC 9900

Philips BV Pulsera

Ziehm Vision R

Siemens Arcadis Avantic


15 kW

7.5 kW

7.5 kW

25 kW

kV Range


60 Fitted



mA Range

Up to 75@120 kVp


Up to 75@110kVp

Up to 250

Tube Power Rating





X-Ray Tube

Rotating Anode

Rotating Anode

Rotating Anode

Rotating Anode

Heat Capacity

300,000 HU

30,000 HU

300 KHU

270,000 HU up to 2,500,000 HU housing


The Results

We’re not here to knock our other contenders. They all sport other great features, but when it comes to raw power the clear standout winner is the Siemens Arcadis Avantic (insert thunderous applause). This unit’s 25kW high-frequency generator is almost twice the size of the next largest GE OEC 9800. Its mA range, kV, and heat capacity are also a clean sweep.

For our money, if you’re looking to power through thick anatomy and still get bright, clear images, you should definitely look into trying out a Siemens Arcadis Avantic. Congratulations, Avantic! We’d give you a statuette, but you don’t have hands.

Which C-Arm Is Best for You

Written by Chris Sharrock

author of blog post

Chris Sharrock is the Vice President of Equipment Solutions at Block Imaging. Sometimes referred to as the “The C-Arm Guy”, Chris has a passion for music, fitness and genuinely enjoys helping others make decisions about c-arms and fluoroscopy equipment. You can download Chris’ very popular “C-Arm Buyer’s Guide” or connect with him here.

Topics: C-Arm, Refurbished Medical Imaging Equipment, Used Medical Imaging Equipment

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