C arm X-Ray Machine: Tips to Consider Before Ordering

C Arm X-Ray Machine

Thinking about purchasing a C arm X-ray machine for your practice but unsure about which one to buy? No worries! From sizes to warranty to prices, we’ve gathered all the basics about these C arm machines to help guide you in making the right choice.

What is a C arm X-ray machine?

 A C arm is an overhanging X-ray image intensifier that uses fluoroscopic dyes to produce detailed visualizations of anatomic structures in real-time. The machine’s support structure is shaped like a “C,” hence the name “C arm.” Because of this C-shape, physicians have better access to rotate and angle the X-ray tube while keeping the patient stationary on the table. These machines can be easily moved and placed in tight spaces and can be adjusted or tilted for optimized viewing.

C arms are also referred to as C arm machines, C arm fluoroscopy, mini C arms, image intensifiers, and C arm X-ray systems.

What is the difference between C arms and O-arms?

Did you know there are C arms and O-arms on the market? What is the difference between the two? Compared to the C arm machine, the O-arm machine uses A LOT more radiation—2 to 3 times more, in fact! O-arm machines are also very expensive to maintain and repair, having limited parts and service availability. In addition, O-arms are limited to spinal surgery and therefore, do not maintain good resale value.

C arms versus fluoroscopy systems

What is the difference between C arm systems and fluoroscopy systems? Well, C arms are fluoroscopy systems, meaning they use fluoroscopic dyes to produce detailed, real-time X-ray imaging for many different diagnostic and interventional procedures.

Components of a C arm system (C arm parts)

C arm systems generally consist of three main parts: X-ray generator, imaging system, and workstation unit:

  • X-ray generator: The X-ray generator can be found in the frame where the C arm is mounted. The latest C arm systems use a digital high-frequency generator with about 20,000 cycles per second. For fluoroscopy examinations, the kVp settings range from 40kV to 120kV while the tube current ranges from 0.1mA to 6mA. For radiographic mode, the mA ranges from about 20mA to 60mA, and for radiographic applications, mA values range from 0.16 to 160. For radiographic exposures, the electronic timer ranges from 0.1 seconds to 4 seconds. With increased X-ray power comes greater flexibility for imaging and decreased exposure times and reduced risk of errors.
  • Imaging system: The imaging system has movement flexibility that allows for use in much different cardiology, orthopedic, and urology surgical procedures. The image intensifier and X-ray tube can be properly mounted to the imaging system.
  • Workstation unit: The workstation unit provides most of the C arm machine’s operation. It consists of handles for movement, power, and exposures switches, cable hanger, brake pedal, radiographic controls, fluoroscopic settings, various interconnect cables, hard and optical disk writers/rewriters, DVD R/RW, PACS system connection, advanced image quality enhancement software for noise reduction and zoom control, contrast and brightness controls, single or dual large monitors, and advanced image processing.

Different types of C arms

There are several different types of C arms available on the market today: mini C arms, compact C arms, full-size C arms, and super C C arms:

  • Mini C arms: Mini C arms are the smaller of the systems that usually come with a 4-inch/6-inch image intensifier. They are ideal for use in clinics for sports medicine, orthopedic, and podiatric imaging. They are great for scanning hands, feet, elbows, ankles, and shoulders. They are also ideal for viewing real-time bone alignment during external reduction and fixation of fractures.
  • Compact C arms: In terms of size, compact C arms are like a cross between a mini C arm and a full-size C arm. They’re bigger than mini C arms but smaller than full-size C arms. They are supplied as either one-piece or two-piece systems and are easy to move and position.
  • Full-size C arms: Full-size C arms are the most popular because they enable you to perform almost any type of procedure you can think of—cardiology, pain management, surgery, spine and torso studies, and swallowing tests. They come with a 6-inch/9-inch up to a 12-inch image intensifier, which can be especially advantageous for cardiology imaging. The open space is 26-inches—large enough to place a table and a patient between the image intensifier and the tube.
  • Super C C arms: Super C C arms have more space between the middle and outer edges—33 inches—allowing them to accommodate larger patients more easily.

What are the uses of C arm machines?

C arms are used as diagnostic tools by many medical specialists, including cardiologists, gynecologists, radiologists, surgeons, and urologists. They are used during surgical, orthopedic, critical care, and emergency care procedures and for pain management. In fact, pain management applications have become the fastest-growing use for C arms.

Here are some useful tips before purchasing the right C arm for you.

Still not sure about which C arm X-ray machine you should purchase? Comparing their sizes, image quality, warranty, free space, and software for your hardware can help you narrow down your options. Let’s discuss these now!

  • Size matters. C arms are not a “one size fits all.” As we mentioned before, these machines range from small to large sizes. It’s good to know the size of the image intensifier you’ll need and if you’re going to be transporting the machine around your hospital or clinic.1
  • A C arm’s image quality varies with size—the resolution gets sharper with more lines per inch.1 Because not all procedures need the best image quality, it’s important to test out different types to determine which C arm gives you the image quality you need depending on the procedures you will be performing.1
  • Let’s talk warranty. When you purchase your C arm, make sure the warranty covers parts, labor, and travel time.1
  • Free space between the image intensifier and the X-ray tube is a must in order to adjust your machine for the best image output.1
  • You will need specific software packages based on the procedures you will be performing.1 For example, you’ll need the vascular package if you’ll be performing procedures that involve veins.1 Make sure you obtain the latest updated software version to get the most out of usage and image quality.1

Finally, if you’re STILL unsure about which C arm to purchase, let’s talk about prices amongst the different brands.

C arm prices guide

C arm prices vary between models and brands. Prices are compared in the table below.4

Basic C Arm Scanning

Popular Options

Late-Model and FD

$25K - $45K

$45K - $65K


OEC 9600

OEC 9800

OEC 9900

Philips Pulsera (gen. 1)

Philips Pulsera (gen. 2)


Siemens Arcadis Orbic

Siemens Cios Select

Philips Veradius

Siemens Arcadis Varic

Ziehm Solo

Siemens Cios Alpha

Genoray Zen 7000


Siemens Cios Fusion

It’s a good idea to ask yourself these questions when choosing your C arm X-ray machine: What’s your budget? What procedures will you be performing? Do you need high-quality images? The answers to these questions can help you navigate through the different brands and models to choose the C arm that is best for you.

And don’t forget! There are benefits to the wholesale pricing of C arm machines! And that leaves the following question: “Where can I buy a C arm machine?”

Where can you buy C arm machines in bulk with wholesale pricing?

At medwish.com, you can get various C arm prices that fit your budget! Medwish.com is a professional manufacturer focused on the research, development, production, sales, and export of medical equipment. We supply products to buyers all around the world—in the United States, Southeast Asia, India, Europe, South America, and other regions and countries. We are continuously developing new products with star-rated service. We happily welcome cooperation with all customers—new and old.

With the Medwish.com platform, you can do everything online—from sourcing to shipping to confirming. Professional product inspection services will also be completed. And you have choices! We have complete medical equipment categories! Feel free to look around at all we have to offer at medwish.com


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