The C-arm capabilities needed to perform kyphoplasty, epidural steroid injections (ESI), and facet injections are relatively basic. This means there are a lot of options available that can handle the work, at a lot of different price points. So how much capability is too much? Are there models with too little? Where's the equipment "sweet spot" for docs that want treat pain with kypho, ESI, and facet?
Below, we'll dive into what you should look for in a pain management system to serve patients well without paying for features you won't need.
C-Arm Features for Kyphoplasty, ESI, and Facet Injection
While it's possible to get by with 512 x 512 resolution for any of the procedures we're discussing here, 1k x 1k resolution is superior and is the common standard. Among OEC C-arms, 1k x 1k starts with the OEC 9800. For Siemens, it starts with the Arcadis line. Philips C-arms got 1k x 1k beginning with the Pulsera family.
The very best image quality in C-arms is found in flat detector systems. The amount you would spend on one of these systems, however, would be hard to justify for work with fluoroscopy needs as minimal as kypho, ESI, or facet.
A basic surgery package will have all the tools and applications you'll need to perform a kyphoplasty, ESI, or facet injection. The purchase of a vascular, neurovascular, or cardiac configured system will have you paying for features you're unlikely to use.
Many manufacturers, looking to release a cost-effective solution, developed models that have a 2.3 kW generator and stationary anode tube (ex. Siemens Compact L). In kypho, ESI, and facets, the imaging is often fast and doesn’t require significant time or power, particularly in AP position. A system with a 2.3 kW generator will suffice for this work, but the wide availability of more powerful systems on the secondary market keeps them affordable even though they are technically more than you're likely to need in the power department.
If you're one of the many physicians establishing a pain management practice on your own, you don’t need to break the bank to get a quality, refurbished C-arm with a full warranty. For the most popular units on the refurbished market that fit the criteria above, we’re seeing average ranges from as low as $35k - $80k. If you want to explore new options that range moves from $60-130k.
There's a lot of good news for pain management physicians looking to start, or expand, their equipment stables. The needs of the procedures you're most likely to perform call for C-arm models that are reasonably priced and easy to find. On top of that, parts and service are readily available for many of these models from independent providers on either a contract or a time and materials basis.
If you're ready to begin a conversation about your next C-arm, we're ready to help you get started. Use the button below to tell us about your project!
Written by Chris Sharrock
Chris Sharrock is the Fluoroscopy Product Manager 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.