The Mini C-Arm: Bigger Isn’t Always Better

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Chances are good that you or somebody you know has had an x-ray.  There's something new to Geisinger in the world of x-rays that doctors are calling much more efficient- and much safer- than a conventional x-ray machine.   It's called a mini c-arm, new to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center near Wilkes-Barre.

Dr. Scott Sauerwine, the Medical Director of Radiology there, says it's portable equipment that delivers x-rays continuously.  
"As long as I have my foot on the pedal, I can see what's happening real-time on the x-ray," said Dr. Sauerwine.

A conventional x-ray machine is a few feet taller and weighs more by hundreds of pounds.  Dr. Sauerwine says its smaller cousin is safer and more efficient for both the patient and the operator.

"For the same type of image, same quality, I can use less x-ray radiation to get the same image in comparison to the c-arm," he said.

Dr. Megan Fernandez is a Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon at Geisinger who likes that the mini c-arm is easy to use in the emergency room and the operating room.  She showed us the example of an 8-year-old patient who came to see her with a broken wrist.

"Children most of the time need to be put to sleep for fracture reduction, so there's anesthesia.  Then we wake them up, then take them to x-ray, and if the reduction isn't at acceptable level, we have to go through the process all over again," said Dr. Fernandez.

Now, she points out, she can see the fracture reduction immediately.
"Less attempts at reduction, only need for one anesthetic, so it's better care at a lower cost..and more safe," she said.

There are three mini c-arm machines at Geisinger, one each at Wyoming Valley and South Wilkes-Barre, and another at the campus near Danville.