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Flat Panel Detectors vs. Image Intensifiers

Analog image intensifiers and digital flat plate detectors have their pros and cons

The Need for Digital Imaging

Analog image intensifiers and digital flat plate detectors have their pros and cons. However, in today’s medical imaging field, digital imaging is the efficient way to go if hospitals, outpatient facilities, and private practices want to stay competitive. Digital images are easily transferred throughout the hospital and other health care facilities. They can be stored in patients’ electronic health care records to be reviewed later without the need for patients to request copies of their images. Patients and their representatives can access images and other records through online health portals. In this article we will cover the differences of flat panel detectors vs. image intensifiers. In this blog, we will focus on the service, parts, size, image quality, and cost of both to determine the best choice for your facility.

Why are Image Intensifiers Still So Common?

One of the reasons Image Intensifiers are still so common is that most facilities are comfortable with using analog technology. The Bio med team can easily repair and find parts for Image Intensifiers or can remove parts from older C-Arms no longer in use. Naturally, people are avert to change especially when something has been working for them over time.

When purchasing newer C-Arms equipped with FPD, there is training involved plus testing the equipment. Most imaging departments do not want to deal with the downtime until the staff is trained and the equipment is tested for quality assurance. 

Pros and Cons of C-Arm Image Intensifiers


  1. Lower acquisition cost.
  2. Biomed teams may find it easier to repair and get parts for analog C-arms.


  1. Larger size.
  2. Image intensifiers use higher radiation dose. When using low KvP the limited II/TV can result in loss of anatomical detail because of saturation or thresholding. Higher doses are required to accurately image the body part.

Pros and Cons of C-Arm Flat Panel Detectors


  1. Smaller profile: able to fit in tight spaces which allows more room for the surgeon to operate.
  2. Better image quality. There’s no geometric distortions around the edges of the image. Which can result in distance measurements with errors of 10% to 15%.
  3. Last longer than Analog II. Flat plate detectors use thin-film-transistor(TFT) so there aren’t any filaments that can burn out which makes them last longer.
  4. Lower radiation dose. With digital imaging there is more exposure latitude which allows smaller doses to image the same body part.  
  5. FPD’s produce less heat. Therefore, the C-arm doesn’t need to cool down during long procedures which can prolong a case.


  1. Costs more. But their long life will easily make up for the higher price.
  2. Some FPD’s can break if bumped or roughly handled.

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Flat Plate Detectors vs. Image Intensifiers

The choice is pretty straightforward given that hospitals and imaging centers have to go digital. C-Arm Flat Plate Detectors are the most cost-effective choice for upgrading an analog C-Arm to digital.

If facilities can’t afford the upgrade they have to convert the analog image to digital to compete in today’s health care markets. Images have to be transferred to other institutions for collaborating with other health care team members. Patients expect to take copy of their x-rays after their surgery or other fluoroscopic procedure.

What if You Can’t Afford to Buy a New Digital C-Arm?

Consider upgrading your old C-Arm for a fraction of the cost.

The process is simple. The Image Intensifiers can be replaced with a new digital flat plate detector without changing the infrastructure of the C-Arm. The rest of the components will not need to be upgraded. Images can be stored or transferred without compatibility issues with the hospitals’ intranet.

Training personnel will not be necessary. It’s the same C-Arm but with a different way to capture images.

Can your biomed team do the upgrade?

Sure they could, but they may not be experienced to do it easily.

Time is money. Biomed teams may take longer to do the upgrade compared to an experienced medical imaging technology company.

Why Choose Amber?

We are friendly, quick, knowledgeable, and willing to work with any budget and with any imaging department throughout the world. Amber Diagnostics will clean and change the locks and wheels as part of the upgrade process. Our 24 hour support assures that you’ll never be left alone if something goes wrong with the equipment. Amber has local repair centers throughout the world and can have someone out within 8 hours.

Call now and let Amber Diagnostics upgrade your C-Arm today. You can also browse their used medical equipment for sale.


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