There are all sorts of issues that a C-Arm can have. Some are so bad that the C-Arm won’t even boot up. Others allow the C-Arm to boot but not won’t allow you to run fluoro. And then there are the issues that don’t interfere with the operation of the unit and allows you to use the C-Arm as you normally would. This could be an issue with a simple fix like a temperature sensor failure or an Iris Potentiometer error…
Or you could have a spot in your image that isn’t supposed to be there. We call these spots artifacts. While these artifacts may seem harmless, they have the potential to require very costly repairs.
So what does an artifact look like? Artifacts in your C-Arm’s images can appear in the form of dark spots or streaks. They could also look like white smudges. Most artifacts seen in your C-Arm’s image can be the result of some particles getting into your C-Arm, most likely dust or dirt. This debris would normally be found in your C-Arm’s image intensifier, camera or around the tube.
The first thing you should do is determine where the artifact is located. The easiest way to do that is to view images on your C-Arm in each magnification mode with nothing in the field of view. If the artifact does not move and appears to be the same size in each magnification mode, that would indicate that the artifact is in or around the camera. If the artifact does change location and size, that would indicate that the artifact is in or around the image intensifier.
How can you get rid of the artifacts? If you have deciphered that the artifact is in or around the camera, you can use an air duster to try and spray away any dirt or dust. If the artifact looks like a smudge you can use a cloth from eyeglasses or sunglasses to wipe down the lens of the camera.
If the artifact changes size and location, you can start by cleaning the grid of the image intensifier. Sometimes the grid of the image intensifier gets dented in which case that grid will need to be replaced. If it is determined that the artifact is inside the image intensifier, you will need an engineer to try and clear the artifact.
Unfortunately, if cleaning the camera or image intensifier grid does not clear away the artifact and an engineer cannot resolve the issue, you will more than likely have to replace either the camera or the image intensifier.
Basically, there is little you can do to avoid artifacts. Keeping your C-Arm clean should help and so will scheduling preventative maintenance visits. But the fact is that an artifact can appear even if your C-Arm is handled with the utmost care. If you notice an unusual spot in your C-Arm and you do not want to diagnose it yourself, the first thing you should do is contact your local C-Arm engineer.
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Meet the author: Alex Silbergleit