Already valued at over $1.6 billion, the global C-arm market will continue to grow. Factors contributing to that growth include an aging population, increased 3D accuracy, and heightened patient awareness.
Given their expanding role in healthcare, it’s important to have a strong foundation of key maintenance principles in place. Such principles will help ensure that fixed and mobile C-arms remain in good working condition.
Here are some tips to help you avoid four common C-arm mistakes and keep the machines operating well.
1) Neglecting preventative maintenance on the C-arm
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Conducting a simple and straightforward review of a C-arm unit — and swiftly addressing any identified problems — is the most effective way to care for it.
Refer to the service manual provided by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for preventive maintenance steps. You can also click here to access a checklist you can brand, personalize, and print. Use it daily to chart a consistent examination of each unit. (When in doubt, favor information provided by the OEM.)
A word of caution: do not attempt to conduct any repairs yourself. Rely on the expertise of your service provider to ensure safe and accurate care from a qualified engineer.
AVOID THIS MISTAKE BY: Printing this checklist, or a checklist from your service provider, and incorporate its use into the office’s daily schedule. Consistency is key.
2) Poor C-arm cleaning habits
C-arm machines support many patients. This raises the presence of accumulated dust, dirt, and debris on them. It also means potential contamination from bodily fluids.
Cleaning the C-arm on a regular basis helps address this. And since cleaning the machine requires hands-on attention, it can serve as an extra examination step.
As always, review the instructions in the user manual first. It’s the most authoritative document on your particular C-arm machine.
AVOID THIS MISTAKE BY: Cleaning your C-arm. A simple and straightforward C-arm cleaning process might look something like this:
- Wear protective equipment
- Wipe down surfaces with disinfectant wipes
- Remove and clean the X-ray tube housing cover (if appropriate per manufacturer guidelines)
- Clear any debris collected on the wheels or wheel wells
3) Minimizing the value of the C-arm manual
People don’t like reading user manuals. Debates continue about whether that’s the result of laziness, a lack of time, or any one of several other factors.
The resulting frustrations among IT support staff, help desk representatives, and others rose to a point where the initialism “RTFM” took unwavering root in today’s lexicon. (If you’re not familiar with it, R = read, T = the, and M = manual. You can guess what the F means.)
Office relocations, paperwork getting reorganized, simple mistakes: despite the inherent value in keeping the manual for something as powerful and complex as a C-arm machine, you’ll still find plenty of users requesting PDF copies in online forums. Then there’s the issue of users knowing where the manual is and simply not referring to it.
That’s a shame since great care is taken to produce user manuals that contain readable and accessible information. Sure, you’re not often in the mood to read about “collimator adjustment” and “test geometry for measuring the iso kerma map.” More people tend to enjoy reading Stephen King. But knowledge is power, and the user manual is the kind of power charger your clinic needs. Minimize the importance of your C-arm user manual at your own risk.
AVOID THIS MISTAKE BY: Maintaining both print and electronic copies of your C-arm user manual and encouraging appropriate staff to become familiar with it. Posting individual pages, such as a list of error codes, may also prove beneficial.
4) Forgoing the best service and warranty deal(s) available for your C-arm
First implemented in the late 19th century, x-ray technology has come a long way. Based on one scientist’s study of a very early x-ray machine:
- A radiation dose 1,500 times stronger than today’s dosage was required.
- A single image required 90 minutes of exposure time, compared to today’s 20 milliseconds or so.
- Many who either operated or whose care required the use of the machines suffered radiation burns and hair loss.
The technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. And as the technology has increased, so, too, has the complexity of these incredible machines. That’s a key reason why a robust service plan and extended warranty is vital. Faithfully performing steps 1-3 (above) will go a long way toward ensuring that you get the most out of your C-arm machine. But it’s not enough. In the event of some unforeseen issue, you’ll want to know that you have experience and dedication to client service in your corner. Some warranties extend for a full 5 years. That offers the peace of mind to help you focus on the care of your patients.
AVOID THIS MISTAKE BY: Asking your current or prospective C-arm dealer or service provider about the support available for clients.
If you’re in the market for a new or refurbished C-arm, contact us today. At Complete Medical Services, we’re passionate about putting our 20+ years of experience to work for you, your practice, and your patients. We’ve got the right C-arm for your practice, including the Zen-7000 (z7) by Genoray, the most advanced C-arm available — with America’s best warranty.