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Q: What's in store for the medical device sector in the coming year?

The introduction of thin-film-transistor (TFT) flat X-ray detectors in the late 1990s rapidly changed the landscape of the dynamic X-ray imaging market. In less than 10 years, the incumbent technology, the image intensified CCD (IICCD), has been replaced in more than 90% of the Cath Labs worldwide with flat detector (FD) technology. The many advantages flat detectors provide have made the transition possible and justified the significant price difference between FD and IICCD.

In the mobile C-arms market, however, the situation is different. Nearly 10 years after the first introduction of TFT flat detectors in mobile C-arm systems in early 2001, barely 10% of those systems are equipped with flat panel. The major reason is the unsatisfactory performance of the TFT flat panels at low dose, which cannot outweigh the advantages of their slim form factor.

This is about to change. The next generation of CMOS flat X-ray detectors, combine and, by far, surpass the advantages of the two established technologies in dynamic X-ray imaging — the low dose image quality of the IICCDs and the flat form factor of the TFT flat detectors. In 2015, we will witness new offerings, including new mobile C-arm systems with CMOS detectors.

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