How to Decide Which C-Arm Image Intensifier Size is Best: 9in vs 12in

The question, “Which C-arm image intensifier size is best for my facility?” comes up a lot in our team's conversations with imaging equipment buyers. If you are shopping for a C-arm machine and don’t know which size image intensifier (II) you really want or need, below is a quick walk-through of the differences between the two most common II sizes to help you make that important decision.

Do I Need a 9" or 12" Image Intensifier?

Types of Studies

This is the single most important determining factor. 12” II’s are primarily used for vascular studies. The three extra inches of diameter allow you to see more anatomy and can enable you to do studies like run-offs which you couldn’t do in a single run with a 9” unit. In fact, you rarely see a 12” II system that doesn’t have some kind of vascular capabilities on the used market.

Most Common Studies Performed With a 9” II - cardiac, orthopedics, pain management, general surgery, pacemaker placements, sports medicine. 

Most Common Studies Performed With a 12” II – vascular, neurovascular, orthopedics


Another factor to consider is the magnification modes. You will typically find that both 9” and 12” systems have tri-mode image intensifiers. In the popular OEC lines the mag modes for a 12” are 12/9/6 and the 9” units are a 9/6/4.5. This results in a higher degree of magnification for the 9” systems. This is why OEC only makes their cardiac platform in a 9” configuration.

Overall Size

One other thing to consider is that because of the larger II, the 12” c-arm systems are naturally larger overall and require more hardware and weight. They will often be slightly more bulky.

Average Room Size Requirements for C-Arm Systems


Software options aside, a 12” C-Arm is going to cost a little more than a 9”. This is true even on the used market. All the more reason to know what you need before you start shopping. On the flip side, the 12” systems tend to hold their value better in the used market which is certainly something to keep in mind if you are considering selling it back into the market at any point.

If you still aren’t sure what you need or if you have questions please let us know how we can help. We can get you the technical information you need to help make an informed decision and, in the meantime, save you some money too.

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Chris Sharrock

Chris Sharrock is the Vice President of Healthcare Solutions at Block Imaging. Each day Chris sets out to provide the best equipment, parts, and service solutions for healthcare facilities across the world. Outside of work Chris enjoys playing in a band, and spending time at the lake with his family.