X-ray tubes are an integral part of the mechanism that produces a clear CT image for diagnostic purposes. These are responsible for producing the photons required to create the image your machine is capturing! CT scanners are able to produce clearer 3D images of the human body by concentrating heat onto smaller areas of the anode that can’t tolerate as much heat.
These tubes are CT parts that go through a lot of stress from daily use on numerous patients, so looking for a manufacturer that produces tubes with cooling capabilities in their product specifications would be advantageous for CT scanner operators.
From how they shape the x-ray beam to signs that it’s time for replacement, here’s everything you need to know about CT x-ray tubes.
Regardless of the brand of your tubes, all of them will likely utilize compensating filters to shape the x-ray beam and reduce the dose to the patient. Filters will also minimize any artifacts that will affect image quality.
This is advantageous to the image since filtration removes long wavelengths that don’t contribute much to the CT image after the patient readily absorbs them. Different filters are also used to scan the body and the head separately. Body scanning filters are used to reduce the beam’s intensity to focus on thinner areas of the patient’s anatomy.
While filtration helps shape the beam directed at the patient, collimation is responsible for restricting the beam to specific areas. Not only does it reduce scatter radiation, but it also narrows or widens the beam by controlling the slice thickness near the source of the x-ray.
Reducing scatter radiation is essential to prevent any reduction in image quality, thus ensuring better contrast resolution. It also allows CT technicians to decrease the patient’s radiation exposure so that they aren’t exposed to more x-ray beams than absolutely necessary!
Signs Your X-Ray Tube Is Nearing EOL
Like all other CT parts and equipment, x-ray tubes will eventually reach end of life (EOL), during which replacement will be necessary. Knowing what signs to look out for will help you determine when it might be time to send in an order for a replacement.
Here are some of the signs that your CT x-ray tube is nearing end of life:
This happens when tubes are constantly arcing in the middle of your scans and giving error messages in your log. Sometimes your machine may immediately shut down with an arc error, an indication that this issue is a regular occurrence.
Humming Sounds from Tube Bearings
Bearings in the tube housing will eventually wear out over time, causing it to make loud humming noises.
You may notice that your CT system stops more often and takes longer to restart because the tube needs cooling. While x-ray tubes are designed to work at peak operating temperatures with no issues, frequent cooldowns may be a sign that your CT tube has problems.
Installation and Replacement of Components
Replacement tubes for CT scanners are a significant investment—but a far more cost-effective option than upgrading entire systems. Replacing any CT part, be it a simple x-ray tube or a coil, can be difficult since it’s a heavy machine component and hard to lift.
CT install kits may help you install tubes with ease and other heavy parts as well. These typically allow imaging engineers to slide the replacement parts into position for installation.
The CT x-ray tube is one of many essential components of your CT scanner, so understanding each component well and how it contributes to the proper functioning of your machine will enable you to operate them more safely and efficiently. Being familiar with your machine will also keep it in good condition when parts are due for replacement! By keeping your CT scanner in good condition, you can deliver a crisp and clear image that is fit for accurate diagnosis and the right treatments.
Are you looking for a reliable supplier of CT parts in the US? Here at DirectMed Parts, we pride ourselves on being the most knowledgeable source for medical imaging parts and services. Contact us today for quality parts for CT and MRI scanners with excellent delivery to service professionals.