There are a number of different options for x-ray equipment and your decision will ultimately come from how you intend on using the x-ray system, the size of your x-ray room, and available electrical. While there are a lot of options for x-ray, we are going to focus on the most commonly used within Chiropractic. The x-ray system that is typically installed in a chiropractic office tends to be much different than what you would find in an imaging center or hospital. The nature of this has to do with the types of x-rays taken, the patient volume, and also pricing.
We are going to go over the following systems:
- Traditional Chiropractic X-Ray Room (most common set up)
- Chiropractic X-Ray Room with a Tilting Wall stand
- Straight-Arm X-Ray Systems
- Double L Frame Systems
- Mobile / Portable X-Ray
While these are the most common x-ray options for Chiropractic, we have seen customers that use the more traditional x-ray system that you have seen in imaging centers or urgent care. These are more typically found in Chiropractors that practice integrative medicine or do a lot of extremities. If you would like to learn more about these systems, please contact us or download the guide for Urgent Care X-Ray rooms, which covers more of these types of systems.
Traditional Digital Chiropractic X-Ray Room
The traditional Chiropractic X-Ray room is comprised of the following:
- Wall stand
- X-Ray generator (32Kw or 40Kw)
- Tube Stand (Floor Mounted or Wall Mounted)
- X-ray Tube
- DR Digital Panel
Cost Range: $34-38k (Including DR panel)
The x-ray wall stand is where the DR panel, CR Cassette or Film Based Cassette is placed to capture the x-ray. The wall stands normally are 19 x 19 in size and will fit up to a 17 x 17 sized DR panel. There are older wall stands, which have been able to support full spine films, however with digital those are no longer being manufactured as there is now x-ray stitching software which can be done by taking sectional x-rays.
Most wall stands will come with a locking mechanism to allow fluid movement of the cassette tray to easily move up and down the stand. This locking is typically utilizing electric locks. Also included within a wall stand is a grid.
The x-ray generator is the engine of the x-ray system, which drives the amount of power needed to produce an x-ray image. Generators can range in power, but Chiropractors typically purchase either a 32kW or 40kW system. The more powerful generator will have a higher amount of dose, which will provide clearer images in larger patients. For most customers, a 32kW system is sufficient enough, however, if you're patient demographics tend to be larger you might want to upgrade to a 40kW system.
Another component of the x-ray generator is the operator console. This is the control pad for taking x-rays. One option the operator console has is Anatomical Programming. This feature allows you to choose an anatomical region of the body and it will provide the recommended x-ray technique needed for this position. Without this feature, you would have to manually select the x-ray technique by putting in the KV, MaS and MA.
Tube Stand (Floor Mounted or Wall Mounted)
The tube stand is what holds the tube and collimator, which directs the x-ray beam to the wall stand where the digital detector is located. The tube stand can be mounted to the floor only, or wall and floor. The tube stand will move back and forth from the wall stand, where a typical x-ray is either taken at 72 SID or 40 SID depending on the anatomical region that is being x-rayed.
An x-ray tube functions as a specific energy converter, receiving electrical energy from the generator and converting it into two other forms of energy: x-radiation (1%) and heat (99%). Heat is considered the undesirable product of this conversion process; therefore x-radiation is created by taking the energy from the electrons and converting it into photons. This very specific energy conversion takes place in the x-ray tube.
The x-ray tube can have a variety of different configurations, however, the most common sold in chiropractic is the 140,000 heat unit, but you can upgrade if needed.
The Collimator is attached to the tube stand and gives the operator the ability to restrict the x-ray beam to a specific area. As an example, if you were taking a cervical x-ray shot, you might want to use the collimator to only x-ray that specific area. The collimated area can be seen with a light, which will visually display where the x-ray or radiation will go. Some collimators will also come with a laser to best help you to position the x-ray tube with the patient.
Chiropractic Room with Tilting Wall Stand
There are a few different versions of a chiropractic room with a tilting wall stand, but essentially it is an option where the wall stand can move directions. This is used for taking extremity x-rays or for certain chiropractic techniques such as NUCCA or Upper Cervical x-ray.
The Vertex Tilting wall stand will move into a position so that the x-ray cabinet is horizontal. This will make it easier to take extremities. This is often used in chiropractic offices that do not want to purchase a separate table to do extremities or are looking for the versatility of have doing tilting x-rays.
All of the components of this system are similar to what was outlined in the Traditional Chiropractic X-ray room, except the tube stand will require a rotating tube stand so that you can move the tube to shoot in different directions.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When considering this type of system keep in mind if you are on a 2nd floor that has the floor below it occupied. It might require lead lining of the floor, on top of the other required wall areas. As we discuss later in the lead shielding section, this will be determined by a certified physicist.
Cost Range: $37-42k (Including DR panel)
Straight-Arm X-Ray System
A straight-arm system is a great option for a Chiropractor that has a small x-ray room space and is looking for a system that is easy to use and better x-ray alignment. Here are the two different available options:
- Traditional Straight-Arm
- CDR Straight-Arm
Cost Range: $k (Including DR panel)
The traditional straight-arm comes with a single stand, which holds the tube, collimator and cabinet where the DR panel resides. The Straight-arm can move vertically and horizontally. It is adjustable to both a 72 SID and 40 SID. One of the benefits to the traditional straight arm is the ability to add a mobile table to do table shots.
CDR Straight Arm
This is a newer system that was introduced in 2021. Like the traditional straight-arm, it is a great option for Chiropractors that have limited space and are looking for an easy-to-use system.
The CDR is a smaller and more compact system that comes with a variety of features such as full software integration, magnetic lock brakes, 40kW generator, LED collimator, and a removable grid. This x-ray solution can fit in virtually any x-ray room as well as drastically cut down installation time.
The only downside about this particular unit is that it is a fixed 40 SID, which will limit the ability to take a 72 SID shot for cervical laterals. If you are a doctor that shoots at only 40 SID, this would be a good compact option for you as an alternative to the traditional x-ray setup.
Double L Frame Systems
The Double L Frame x-ray system includes a system that is most commonly used in offices that practice NUCCA, Upper Cervical, and Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP). These techniques require laser precision when taking and measuring x-rays. The Double L Frame ensures that the alignment of the x-ray system is precise and consistent with each exam.
The system comes with everything that is found with a traditional x-ray system but mounts to a structure that holds the x-ray tube, cabinet, head clamps, and chair.
Cost Range: $60-80k (Including DR panel)
Mobile/Portable X-ray System
A mobile or portable x-ray system can be a great option for Chiropractors that are looking to move their x-ray system from room to room or multiple locations. In some cases, we have customers that are looking to use a portable x-ray system to avoid the additional cost of lead lining an x-ray room. While this can be done, it is not recommended to use mobile or portable x-ray if your intention is to keep the x-ray system in the same room as most states while still consider this a stationary x-ray system and they will require the same lead shielding as a traditional x-ray room.
Here are a few portable x-ray options:
- MinX-ray HF140
- SourceRay Portable X-ray
- AMX4 Portable X-ray
- Patient Image Portable X-ray
- PatientImage Handheld X-ray
- Fuji FDR Portable X-ray
The benefit of a portable x-ray is the ability to move from room to room or even take it to different locations. However, one of the downsides is that a portable x-ray is not going to have the same amount of x-ray dose as a traditional x-ray system. Most of the portable x-ray systems run on batteries or 110v power, which is not the same as a traditional x-ray that has dedicated 100amps.
Cost Range: $60-80k (Including DR panel)