According to the Medical Service department of the market survey company IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc. the global market for X-ray equipment used for medical, dental, veterinary applications and other purposes expanded to more than $10 billion in 2012, and is set to rise by 18 percent to reach $12 billion in 2017. Growth will be driven by the continued digitalization of X-ray systems and increasing healthcare investment in emerging economies. The global X-ray market includes the following product categories: general radiography, fluoroscopy, mammography, interventional, mobile C-arm, veterinary and dental. “General radiography is undergoing a major transition away from film and toward digital flat-panel detector (FPD) technology, with more affordable solutions such as retrofit kits driving this migration in many cash-strapped regions,” said Sarah Jones, analyst for medical electronics at IHS. “Shipments of FPD and retrofit FPD systems accounted for an estimated 15 percent of annual general radiography shipments in 2012. That total is expected to rise to 25 percent in 2017.” The mammography market is already dominated by FPD full-field digital mammography (FPD-FFDM) equipment, led by adoption in mature markets. In contrast, FPD-FFDM uptake in emerging markets is relatively low, with few healthcare providers able to purchase the costly equipment and demand for breast screening very low. Meanwhile, interventional and mobile C-arm equipment is benefitting from a growing trend toward minimally invasive surgery, which reduces patient hospital stays and increases patient throughput. More advanced systems with digital technology and advanced navigation software is driving growth in mobile C-arm X-ray. Interventional X-ay is already dominated by digital technology and is being spurred by new installations of hybrid operating hybrid operating rooms that combine multiple imaging modalities and full surgical equipment in one room. Hospitals, for their part, are becoming more receptive to new procedures like transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), with the concomitant use of medical imaging. TAVI is an alternative to open-heart surgery. These procedures now are being performed using high-end mobile C-arm X-ray equipment, requiring FPD technology. However challenging global economic conditions have significantly impacted the X-ray market. In the short term, delayed purchasing and slower demand are predicted to continue. However, hard times are also creating an opportunity for lower-cost digital solutions, such as retrofit FPD panels/kits, to penetrate the market. Over the longer term, the global X-ray market is forecast to recover. Emerging economies will be the main market drivers, particularly in China, India, Latin America and parts of Southeast Asia.
IMS RESEARCH WELLINGBOROUGH, ENGLAND