The GE OEC C-Arm series was a mobile C-Arm market dominator for the last few decades, especially the GE OEC 9600, which has been in the market since 1994. The last production of the GE OEC 9600 C-Arm system was in 1998. Due to extreme old aging, most key components such as X-ray tubes, CRT monitors, and the battery should be changed at least once, otherwise, the system cannot be used or could be out of use in meantime. Also, if it has remained in tough clinical environments for a long period of time, the mechanical apparatus on the C-Arm’s side and components at the workstation side will most likely be damaged or out of life. In 2013, GE introduced the next generation of a low capacity C-Arm option (2kW), and the GE OEC Brivo, a conventional image intensifier. However, the high price of the new OEC Brivo, (a success of the GE OEC 9600), though it provides half of the power capacity of the GE OEC 9600, sells around 100,000 US dollars. Also, the price of the old GE OEC 9600 becomes much different depending on who refurbishes the system, by GE itself or a third party ISO (Independent Service Organizations).In addition, the price of parts and repair is very expensive and it is difficult to get parts to reduce the system down time as well. Due to short production time, there are not many GE OEC 9600’s available on the market. Almost 25 years of pre-owned medical equipment in tough clinical environments may have higher risks of problems on mechanical parts, lowered functionality on X-ray tubes and other generator and power supplies. Unless it’s covered by an expensive warranty through GE or an ISO (Independent Service Organizations), the cost of repair will be extremely high.
Considering above situations, customers become more negative to choose an old and refurbished GE mobile C-Arm because at similar budget investment, there is a reasonable selection of mobile C-Arms with proprietary technologies and up-to-date user interfaces. The Genoray OSCAR Prime and Classic are two of typical and good examples in the current market. The Genoray OSCAR Prime is highly recommended with its distortion free superior image quality and a large field of view flat panel detector. Integrated with a larger capacity of 5.4 kW X-ray rotating tube, which has proven to be reliable for the last 20 years on ZEN-5000 and ZEN-2090, an unprecedented long X-ray anode cooling rate with the OSCAR series’ unique active cooling system makes a user highly satisfied when accurate diagnosis and further surgical and vascular procedures are required. None of the refurbished GE OEC systems can meet these standards. In addition, the OSCAR series does not charge for clinical application S/W, and also, in order to take care of users from harm of overdose radiation without financial barriers, the OSCAR series provides, without any charge, “Low Dose Mode”, “Dose Structured Report”, “Virtual Collimator”, and “Auto Collimation”, which helps a user enhance dose management. A user of the OSCAR series can enjoy enhanced workflow with a large touch screen, preview mode, and the market’s largest 180 degree orbital rotation angle. The system is light-weight. Positioning of the system is relatively easy with smooth maneuverability and wheeling, especially, its 180° wide orbital rotation, which helps users have a smooth operation procedure without unlocking the wheel of the C-Arm. The OSCAR series, as a few of most proprietary systems in the market, are built on very flexible and advanced S/W architecture, so features are highly customizable, storage is huge (up to 2 Terabytes), and a system update is very easy. Along with a large storage capacity and DICOM standard in the system, “ZENIS” a total image management system on the OSCAR series, enables image acquisition, storage, measurement/annotation (length, angle, and input and storage of line, arrow, characters), management (invert, rotation, zoom in/out, magnification, etc.), and communication.
In conclusion, the GE OEC series is still popular even though they are between 20 to 25 year-old, used systems, but it is difficult to justify all functionalities and superiority against the Genoray OSCAR Prime and Classic. The lifetime of C-Arms is relatively long compared to other medical equipment, but still, the concept is acceptable when the system of a monitor and a X-ray tube are regularly changed to keep a certain standard of image quality. Generally, refurbished OEC series are offered with a limited warranty of one year or no warranty at all. If a customer wants to purchase a C-ARM for the next 5 to 10 years, the customer must consider the maintenance costs and parts scarcity within 1 to 2 years. A very limited number of people still have a CRT monitor TV or a 2G flip phone; however, a large portion of physicians still buy pre-owned C-ARMs since an up-to-date and fully digital interface C-ARM is still too expensive. Considering this background, what if there is a brand-new CFD C-ARM with a 2 to 5 year warranty, has proven durability and quality in more than 300 clinical sites in the USA, and is inexpensive compared to the refurbished GE OEC series – don’t we need to consider the brand-new, affordable CFD C-ARM as your system for next 10 years?