The global demand for flat panel detector (FPD) mobile C-arm digital radiography systems is expected to soar, growing by 54% worldwide from 2011 to 2016, according to a key forecast in a new report published by market research firm InMedica.
The authors attribute the increase in demand to several factors. An increasing awareness of radiation dose exposure and the need for image quality makes the use of flat panel detector technology compelling, since images of very high quality can be acquired at a low radiation dose. Also, with healthcare spending being cut in many countries, mobile C-arm radiography is being used for many types of imaging, including orthopedic, gastrointestinal, vascular, and cardiac applications. The mobility of these systems enables them to be used in several departments.
High-end systems have been used in hospitals in Portugal and Spain to perform complex imaging procedures, such as in transcatheter aortic valve implementation procedures in lieu of purchasing and installing fixed cardiac catheterization laboratories, reported InMedica. However, some countries are not authorizing the use of mobile C-arm systems to perform advanced cardiac and vascular procedures, due to concerns regarding image quality and overheating of equipment generators.
For these reasons and others, the utilization and anticipated market growth of radiographic equipment using flat panel detector technology varies significantly by geographic region, according to the report titled "The World Market for Mobile C-arm X-ray Equipment -- 2012 Edition." In spite of the desire to replace x-ray equipment using image intensifiers with that of flat panel detectors, some hospitals simply do not have the budget to do so within the time frame of the report.
InMedica forecasts revenues for this equipment to increase in Asia as hospital development and infrastructure improvements are made. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, InMedica predicts that the transition to flat panel detector technology will continue as many countries are changing their purchasing patterns from acquiring systems using image intensifiers to those with flat panel detectors.
In 2011, North America represented the largest market for flat panel detector systems. This market still will be strong, with out-of-hospital clinics, such as orthopedic and pain management clinics, expected to drive growth.