Setting Up a Mini C-Arm: How to Do It?

C-arms use x-ray fluoroscopy for orthopedic, spine and trauma procedures. They can be used in the OR, clinics, emergency departments, and sports team venues. Mini c-arms offer many benefits, including easy maneuverability, a small storage footprint and independence from radiological staff (surgeon operated). They also have higher speeds, lower radiation exposure, and smaller image intensifier.

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As you consider the costs associated with a mini C-arm, remember to factor in the cost of the equipment but also the extras you may need to make your facility fully functional. You can find different types of mini C-arm through vendors like For example, some C-arms have built-in image storage capacity, while others require a DICOM box to convert the images to an easily transferable format.

Many vendors offer a trial period for potential buyers so they can see how a specific C-arm model performs in their OR. It is an excellent opportunity for surgeons and radiographers to try out the system, determining if they’re comfortable operating it and how it fits their workflow. Using fluoroscopy during hand surgery can improve the quality and ease of fracture reduction, decrease the length of sedation for patients, reduce the amount of radiation exposure to surgeons and staff, and increase OR throughput.


Unlike full-size C-Arms that use large moon-shaped arcs and a separate monitor cart, mini C-arm fluoroscopic systems combine everything into one compact unit. It includes the tablet mounting arm, support stand, generator, flat panel detector and C-arm. It allows for quick results and a smaller footprint. The difference in size makes it easier to move a mini c-arm between exam rooms and other areas in your facility. This flexibility is especially helpful for sports medicine clinics and hospitals that host traveling athletic teams. There are great examples of an all-in-one portable mini C-arm that is compact and capable of providing high-quality images. With the ability to rotate and capture image sequences, this kind of system has the imaging capabilities you need for your extremity procedures. There are also designed to be mobile with a durable transport case for airline travel and shipping. This flexibility is also helpful for facilities with limited space.


If you will be transferring images from the C-arm to PACS via a network, or logging into it remotely, find out whether it has built-in wireless or hard-wired networking capabilities. Also, consider how much storage capacity the device has, as well as whether it can accept USB drives for image transfer. Unlike full-size C-arms, the mini versions are more maneuverable and don’t need to be cooled. They’re lighter, too, and take up less floor space in the OR. Some units are compact enough to fit in an OR gurney. It has a large flat-panel detector, a 4K monitor, and a touch panel for the assisting physician. Its user-friendly tablet interface includes onscreen help and features such as color coding, positioning memory, and body smart that optimize image quality while keeping radiation dose low.

Getting Started

When you have all the elements, it’s time to get your mini C-arm up and running. You’ll want to look for a model that offers the necessary functionality without exceeding your budget—a flat detector digital machine. Since the image is produced digitally, you’ll have instant results compared to conventional C-Arms that have to convert X-ray images to light photons and electrons before they appear on the screen. The generator power is less than a full-size C-Arm, reducing radiation exposure. Also, consider a system with built-in safety features to help you comply with state regulations.