Wednesday , 8 February 2023
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What Size C Arm Machine Should You Buy For Your Practice


C Arm machines come primarily in 2 sizes of image intensifiers – 9 inch and 12 inches. Unlike most other things however, bigger is not always better with C Arms. You are sometimes better off with 9 inch intensifiers and 12 at other times. Here are some key differences between the two and what purposes they are most suitable for.

Type of study

If you want to study just small parts of the body at a time with the C-arm, a 9-inch arm is perfectly adequate and you will gain no benefits from a 12” intensifier. However, the latter is more useful when:

  • You want to scan and study larger areas
  • You find yourself needing to run multiple times to complete an examination of the whole area

A 9-inch intensifier is best for pain management, orthopaedics, general surgery, where you focus on a single part of the body at a time and you don’t really need to cover a larger area. However, when your primary concern is vascular or neural studies, you need a 12” intensifier to get the job done in a single run. This will also save power and costs.


9 inch and 12 inch intensifiers for C Arms have different magnification modes, because of their sizes. A 9-inch intensifier has a typical mag mode of 9/6/4.5, while a 12-inch counterpart will have 12/9/6. As a result, the smaller C-arm has better magnification. This is more useful for cardiac studies and others where extremely delicate organs are concerned.

However, if you really need a 12” x-ray intensifier and also the higher magnification, you can find used C Arms matching your needs. Since these are not always manufactured or sold in large quantities, they may be more expensive.


12-inch C Arms are definitely bigger than 9-inch machines. This is not only because of the bigger size of the intensifier, but also the circuitry to support the additional power requirements. You will definitely need a bigger room to install such a C Arm. If your budget does not allow for a bigger room, you may have to get the 9-inch intensifier.

However, if you really do need a 12” for your examinations, you should definitely consider upgrading to a bigger room that is more spacious and has better cooling as it will pay off in the long run.

Cost considerations

This is another concern for most practices. 12” C Arm machines are more expensive than the smaller ones. However, you can always find used machines for sale or from recognized resellers for cheaper. If you need a 12” intensifier, but you don’t want to spend as much money on it, don’t buy a 9” machine instead, go for a used 12-inch c-arm.

In the end, consider this, if you are not going to use your C Arm for vascular studies, a 9-inch version of the machine is definitely the better choice, both from the technical and value standpoint. Otherwise, get a 12” for its obvious benefits.