When you own a C-Arm, you can expect that there will be a certain level of service and maintenance that is needed over time. It just comes with the territory of owning any piece of machinery, but especially equipment whose intended purpose is for use on humans (and animals) for medical procedures. With that said, there are measures that you can take to avoid some common issues that C-Arms experience. Today, we are addressing how to avoid cuts and tears in your C-Arm's cables.
Damage to your cables could be as small as a little rip in the exterior cover to a cable and could be as big as a large tear in the cable that exposes the interior wires. A tear in your cables can not only lead to performance related problems but it is also a major safety concern. The three cables that we see tears in most frequently is the HV Cable, the Interconnect Cable, and the Power Cable. When these cables have tears, you generally will need to replace the cables. While replacing the power cable is a relatively small cost requiring a short service call, the HV Cable and Interconnect Cable will cost you around $2,500 to replace and the task to replace it generally takes no less than 3 hours. You can use electrical tap to cover the rip as a temporary fix, but we do not suggest this for the long run. Reason being is that this is a band-aid fix. While putting a band-aid on your skin allows for the cut to heal, the cables on your C-Arm do not have the same healing capabilities as our skin has.
In our experience, these rips and tears happen in 3 ways; all of which can be easily avoided.
1) The manner in which your cables are unplugged. This does not apply to the HV cable, but it does for your interconnect and power cable. When unplugging your cables, do not just yank your cables. When unplugging your power cable, walk to where the plug is connected to the outlet and pull the plug out gently from the wall. Same applies to your Interconnect cable. The type of connection varies based on the manufacturer of your C-Arm, but you should always de-connect your Interconnect cable gently and right at the spot where it connects to your C-Arm.
2) Cables get ripped when they are run over by the wheels of your C-Arm or are left exposed in heavy traffic areas. This again applies to the Interconnect cable and Power cable and not the HV cable. Being that your C-Arm is a mobile unit and that your Interconnect and Power cables often rest on the floor, it is easy to run your C-Arm, C-Arm table or medical carts over these cables. We recognize that it can be difficult to avoid rolling over these cables during a busy day and doing so once or twice shouldn't rip the cables. With that said, if you can consciously try to avoid rolling over these cables, they will appreciate it!
3)The most common way these cables get ripped is how you move your C-Arm around. This applies primarily to your HV cable. Do not rotate your C-Arm or push or pull your C-Arm around a room by grabbing the HV Cable. There are multiple handles all over your C-Arm designed specifically for rotating your C-Arm and moving it around the room. Make sure to use them because that is what they are there for!
You should expect that there will be unavoidable issues with your C-Arm that will require service. With that said, protecting your cables is one issue that can be avoided with just a little bit of thought.
If you haven’t had the chance to read our blog about artifacts in your C-Arm's exposures, we suggest that you give it a quick read - Click Here!
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Meet the author: Alex Silbergleit