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FPDs to drive surgical imaging market

The global surgical imaging market is projected to reach USD 2.4 billion by 2025 from an estimated USD 1.8 billion in 2020, at a CAGR of 6.3 percent, estimates MarketsandMarkets. The major factors driving the growth of this market include the advantages of FPDs over image intensifiers, technological advancements, reimbursement cuts for analog radiography systems, and the increasing demand for minimally invasive procedures. However, the high cost of systems is estimated to restrain the growth of this market.

The COVID-19 outbreak has upended many lives and businesses on an unprecedented scale. The pandemic is negatively impacting the surgical imaging market. The pandemic has put significant strain on the healthcare systems of the world. During this period, healthcare institutions and providers had been instructed to stop performing elective surgical procedures and medical examinations to slow the spread of the disease and conserve healthcare resources for COVID-19 patients. According to a report published by researchers of CovidSurg Collaborative, around 28 million surgeries were canceled across the globe during 12 weeks of peak disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Hospital Association estimated an average loss of revenues to US hospitals of USD 50.7 billion per month from March 1 to June 30, 2020 due to suspension of elective procedures (as these procedures typically constitute a substantial part of hospital revenue). Capital markets and economies worldwide have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it may cause an extended regional or global economic recession. Such economic disruption could have a negative impact on surgical imaging manufacturers. Most hospitals have deferred their ongoing purchase of capital equipment. A similar decrease in system installation and utilization is expected in Q4 2020, given the recurrence of COVID-19 in some regions. Demand is expected to reach pre-COVID levels by early 2022. Furthermore, as economic pressure increases, customers will seek leasing or alternative financing arrangements instead of outright purchases, leading to deferred revenues for surgical imaging system manufacturers.

The image intensifier C-arms segment commanded the largest share of 75.1 percent of the market in 2019. However, the FPD C-arms segment is projected to register the highest CAGR of 7.7 percent. The large market share of this segment can be attributed to the large installed base, low price and low maintenance costs of the systems. The evolution of C-arms—from the traditional X-ray image intensifier technology to digital flat-panel detectors (FPDs)—has brought about significant advancements in surgical imaging. FPDs have a number of advantages over image intensifiers, such as compact size and reduced radiation dose. Although resolution varies from model to model, FPDs have the ability to produce a more consistent, high-quality digital image. As many companies are introducing FPD C-arms, the cost of these systems is coming down. This would further increase the adoption of these systems. In addition to the high purchase cost, these machines have several other direct expenses for printers and DICOM boxes, which result in an overall increase in the total cost of ownership. Due to the requirement of significant capital expenditure, many small and medium-sized institutions find it hard to purchase these systems.

Owing to the expansion of the patient population base, the number of hospitals and surgical centers is expected to increase in emerging countries in the coming years. Also, currently, governments in these countries are undertaking initiatives to expand and modernize their respective healthcare infrastructures.

Market saturation in developed regions, such as North America and Europe, will further compel surgical imaging equipment providers to focus on emerging markets in the coming years. In addition, countries such as India, Mexico, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Africa have emerged as major medical tourism destinations for patients worldwide. And, surgical imaging systems are expected to play a major role in effectively managing the growing patient volume in these countries.

GE Healthcare, Siemens AG, Koninklijke Philips, and Ziehm Imaging, are some of the leading players in the surgical imaging market.

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