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Benefits of Having a C-Arm in Your Practice for Swallow Studies

August 31, 2020 | 14 Comments

A C-arm machine is an imaging scanner intensifier. It has a c-shaped arm that connects the x-ray source and the x-ray detector. These machines are often used for intraoperative imaging during a variety of surgical, orthopedic, and emergency procedures because of their unique capabilities, such as producing x-ray images in real-time and allowing doctors to monitor their progress during procedures or tests and make any corrections immediately.

Traditionally, a radiography and fluoroscopy room at a hospital has been considered necessary for swallowing studies for conditions such as dysphagia, aspiration, and esophageal modality disorders. However, small practices are beginning to perform these studies in their offices with C-arms. There are a few instances where these machines would be the ideal tool for these studies. 

Patients With Limited Mobility

If a patient has a condition that limits their mobility, a C-arm machine would be able to accommodate them. A C-arm makes it easier to perform any studies if patients cannot get out of their wheelchair, swallowing chair, or stretcher. A C-arm machine is also an accomodating tool if your patients cannot get comfortable on a radiography and fluoroscopy table. However, it is important to keep in mind that a C-arm machine does not give you the images you need to check for gastroesophageal reflux like a radiography and fluoroscopy room will. Instead, a C-arm is only capable of checking for esophageal modality, which will give you the information you need for most swallowing studies. 

Emergency Patients

If necessary, swallowing studies can be performed on emergency patients with a C-arm machine. This can save time since patients are not required to be transferred to a hospital with a radiography and fluoroscopy room. 

Rehabilitation Patients

Since using a C-arm machine allows doctors to get the images they need for swallowing studies outside of a traditional hospital setting, having one will prevent you from having to refer any patients to a different location for their test. This is especially helpful if you see a lot of patients undergoing rehabilitation after a surgery or injury because it can improve the patient’s experience and open new sources of revenue for your facility. 

Having a C-arm machine could save your patients time and discomfort in cases when a traditional radiography and fluoroscopy room just isn’t flexible enough. If your facility has been outsourcing swallowing studies, can be a great way to expand your offerings and better serve your patients. 

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