Because of all this attention, I thought it was time to go on the record and share my thoughts on when an O-arm is a great pick, and when a 3D C-arm like the Siemens Orbic 3D might be a better choice.
Where the Medtronic O-Arm Shines
Medtronic's O-arm delivers excellent image quality and quick 3D reconstruction time. It's design makes it well suited to spinal surgeries.
The O-arm uses significantly (2-3X) more radiation than a C-arm. Using the O-arm in conjunction with a Medtronic navigation system helps to control the exposure of techs/surgeons to this dose, but patients will be fully exposed.
The O-arm is also highly proprietary (i.e. expensive) in terms of maintenance and repair. When it comes to the availability of parts and service personnel, you're pretty much limited to Medtronic themselves.
Because the practicality of the O-arm is limited to spinal surgery, these systems do not hold their value well for resale. A facility that has one and is looking to change probably won't be able to count on it as much of an offset to the cost of new equipment.
Where the Siemens Arcadis Orbic 3D C-ArmShines
With a more standard C-arm design, the Orbic 3D has a great deal of flexibility in use. Pain mangement, run-offs, and a broader range of surgical applications are practical on this unit.
The radiation dose of the Orbic is in keeping with dose levels found across the range of C-arm models currently on the market. Like the O-arm, the Orbic is also able to take advantage of the dose reduction for medical staff made possible by integration with a surgical navigation system.
By virtue of Siemens' more widespread use, the Orbic 3D is far less expensive to maintain than the O-arm. Spare parts and service personnel are more common and much simpler to find. This, combined with its aforementioned flexibility, allow the Orbic 3D to retain significantly more value for resale.
While the Orbic produces high quality images, the image quality of the O-arm surpasses it. It also takes the Orbic slightly longer to perform 3D reconstruction which has the potential to create momentary delays during a procedure.
If your facility focuses almost exclusively on spinal surgery and operates under relatively few budgetary constraints, the purchase of a Medtronic O-arm could offer you the precision and streamlined workflow that come with purchasing a highly-specialized, niche system. However, if your workload covers a wider variety of procedures or if your parts and service budget requires a more watchful eye, the Siemens Orbic 3D will be the better pick for your facility.