However, the Turner Imaging Systems Smart C-Arm solution highlights unique attributes in areas where portability is required — for example, in a sports environment. One case study is for imaging at a stadium, during the match. A complaint many sports physicians highlight is if a player gets injured in the game, they are effectively ruled out for the rest of the match until a thorough evaluation can be conducted post-match at a nearby hospital. If teams were to have a portable device that could be used pitchside, the extent of the injury could be assessed, with players potentially able to reenter the game if cleared of breaks or serious injuries. This is another great example of bringing the imaging technology closer to those who need it the most and away from hospital environments.
Portability in the wider X-ray market
A truly portable X-ray system is not a new concept, however. The industry has been talking about handheld mobile X-ray systems, such as the Fujifilm Calneo Xair and the Oxos Micro-C for several years. These lightweight handheld devices can be easily moved, including within an operating theatre, compared to the larger more cumbersome X-ray devices. However, these devices have not yet received FDA approval, even after several years since launch. Typical use cases currently reside in Asia for the Calneo Xair, with plans to target developing countries. Without this approval, the lucrative surgical market cannot be exploited in the United States with such handheld solutions.
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Signify has previously discussed another recent launch in the mini C-Arm market, the Adaptix 3D mini C-arm. This is not, however, a direct competitor to the Smart-C from Turner Imaging Systems. The Adaptix solution is not designed for surgical applications, instead, it is purely a point-of-care diagnostic tool for extremity imaging. Like the Turner Imaging Systems solution, the Adaptix solution also plans to take X-ray out of hospitals and into the communities, targeting medical and imaging centres, but offering 3D imaging with a shorter imaging processing time. The key to both Adaptix and Turner Imaging System’s envisioned plans is that they are aiming to create new markets, demand and opportunities. Neither are aiming to erode the existing installed base in hospitals.
Being able to conduct surgeries in locations outside hospitals could help address procedural backlog for COVID-19 recovery. In the last year, elective surgeries have understandably slipped down priority lists, as hospitals diverted staff, resources and focus to fighting the pandemic. This has led to most countries having huge backlogs of patients waiting for their scheduled surgery. For example, the U.K. has an estimated backlog of 2.3 million patients awaiting elective procedures, with many waiting over a year for basic operations. Likewise, Canada has 419,000 outstanding surgical procedures. This is similar in many other developed countries globally. It is expected to take several years to clear this backlog. One way the backlog can be alleviated is to take some of the pressure off hospitals and encourage patients to have their surgeries in other outpatient locations, such as in remote medical and surgical settings. Using solutions like the Turner Imaging Systems Smart-C (or other mobile C-Arms) outside of hospitals could therefore help clear some of this backlog.