Bringing a new (or new to you) X-ray system into an imaging facility can be an overwhelming project, especially if it's your first time.
To give those of you who might be wondering a nudge in the right direction, we're going to cover some top considerations to help you choose the very best X-ray equipment for you.
We'll cover functionality, patient volume levels, and placement by clinical specialty.
What are the 3 types of X-Ray machines?
Let's break down the three types of x-ray machines you can choose from:
Portable X-Ray Systems
Portables are just that, mobile X-ray units that can move between rooms for basic studies.
Floor-Mounted Rad Rooms
There are plenty of subtypes in the floor-mounted rad room category (fixed table, U-arm, straight arm, etc.), but all of these types share a few similarities that will be helpful to know.
They are fixed units. Floor-mounted rad rooms are fixed to the floor (unlike portables) with varying degrees of flexibility and movement, including mobile tables, floating/elevating tables, or tube stands that travel on a fixed track.
They have more powerful generators than portables. A more powerful generator allows for cross-table studies and heavier patients to be scanned while maintaining excellent image quality.
They offer more flexibility than portables for a wider variety of procedures. In certain studies, a sunrise knee, for example, cannot be performed on portable X-ray units. The rotational movement of a floor-mounted tube stand, coupled with the range of motion of the table allows techs and doctors to perform more types of studies.
Ceiling-Mounted Rad Rooms
Our final category is ceiling-mounted X-ray systems, where the tube and collimator are suspended from the ceiling on rails. This style is the most versatile of the bunch.
In most cases, a ceiling-mounted X-ray is used for the following needs:
- Bariatric studies (due to top-tier generator power and table weight capacity)
- High-volume facilities like hospitals and large orthopedic clinics
- Facilities that perform standing weight-bearing studies
Which X-Ray System Is Best for Me?
X-ray machines come in a variety of styles, and each one has its separate strengths and cost. You will want to consider your facility's scanning needs, space requirements, and budget to make a sound decision. So which one do you choose?
A portable can be a great first step into the X-ray world. Consider starting with one of these systems if you're working through the following questions :
- What will my volume be like?
- Will X-ray be a sustainable source of revenue for our facility?
- Will our X-ray procedures be basic?
Typically, these units are low-powered, easy to use/maneuver, and on the lower end of the cost spectrum. Some companies, like Block Imaging, will allow you to rent a portable and establish a base for your X-ray business or determine your volume and needs before you buy.
Portables shine best in light-duty settings like single physician offices, urgent care, family practice, chiropractic, or as a backup in large orthopedic or hospital settings.
Floor-Mounted Rad Room
These systems are typically purchased for facilities that have an established expectation of volume. While carrying a higher cost than a portable, due to installation and room configuration costs, the flexibility of a floor-mounted rad room adds value through higher throughput and a broader range of studies conducted.
If you're looking to start with a more varied caseload or medium-high volume right out of the gate, a floor-mounted machine can be an excellent first X-ray system.
Ceiling-Mounted Rad Room
A ceiling-mounted X-ray system comes with higher costs for the equipment, service, installation, and potential construction, but is a one-stop shop for any X-ray study you might need, no matter the patient. Options for manual or fully-automated systems are available based on a facility's specific needs in volume and study type.
Every facility's X-Ray needs are a bit different; different patient volumes, different specialties, and different budgets. Fortunately, the variety among X-ray systems means there's equipment that fits in any setting.
There's always a temptation to let price take the driver's seat in your equipment considerations. We recommend starting your decision-making process with careful consideration of your clinical needs, then weighing those needs against the budget you're working with. When you feel confident in your needs, visit our portable x-ray price guide and our x-ray room price guide.
And if you need help reconciling the two, our team is always ready to help!