Comparison - traditional straight-arm and CDR x-ray systems

Jun 23, 2022 8:30:07 PM / by Chad Hutchison

The chiropractic profession is one that is always looking for ways to improve patient care. One way chiropractors have done this in the past, and continue to do so today, is through x-ray systems such as traditional straight-arm systems. But how do they compare to CDR systems?

What is a traditional straight-arm x-ray?

A traditional straight-arm x-ray system is a compact unit with a pivoting arm. This arm enables it to shoot x-rays onto a table as well as being able to expand and contract to take the most suitable x-rays.

What is the CDR?

CDR stands for Chiropractic Digitized Radiology. This system is smaller and more compact than the traditional straight-arm, which makes it ideal for chiropractors with limited space.


Typically a traditional straight-arm system can take x-rays at two different SIDs; either 40 SID or 72 SID. This contrasts to a CDR which is limited to taking x-rays at only 40 SID. This is because it’s designed specifically for chiropractic use and facilities that don’t require more than 40 SID.
A potential benefit of a traditional system in comparison to a CDR is the ability to use a table. Where the arm of the traditional system can pivot and shoot downwards onto a patient on a table, the CDR only shoots horizontally - limiting the range of shots that can be taken.
Both systems come with a generator, whether at 32kw, 40kw or higher, they both have the same amount of power. The major limitations of the CDR are that it only shoots in 40 SID and the arm cannot pivot.

With their range of movement and ability to use a table, traditional straight-arm x-ray systems are often used in imaging centers, hospitals and urgent care. CDRs on the other hand were designed for use in a chiropractic environment but you may also see them in small clinics which take chest x-rays.


The advantage of both a traditional straight-arm x-ray system and a CDR over a traditional x-ray room is their space saving ability. Both systems can fit into a compact x-ray room, whereas a traditional x-ray room with its multiple components will require a larger room.
An additional benefit of the design of both the traditional straight-arm and the CDR is that they protect the DR panel as it remains tethered to the computer. Traditionally you would have to move the panel from the wall stand to the table depending on the shots, making the panel susceptible to wear and tear and risk of dropping. Inside the DR panel is TFT glass which if dropped or crushed can damage or break the plate. This would result in upwards of a $5-10K repair! Our x-ray systems come equipped with a DR panel, with a 17x17 cesium panel available with CDR and straight arm systems.


Traditional straight-arm systems are slightly more expensive than a traditional x-ray room. If cost is a factor for you and you do have the space for a traditional x-ray room then this may be a more suitable option for you. Or, if you’re working in a chiropractic environment, then a CDR could be a great choice as they’re more affordable than a traditional straight-arm system.

The chiropractic profession continues to be on the forefront of innovation in healthcare through the use of chiropractic x-ray systems, and traditional straight-arm systems have proven to be a great option for small chiropractor offices looking for an easy to use, better alignment type of x-ray technology.

For more information about x-ray systems, including straight-arm x-ray systems, contact us today!

Tags: Chiropractic Digital X-ray, Chiropractic tools, Digital X-ray System

Chad Hutchison

Written by Chad Hutchison

Founder and CEO of Maven Imaging, Chad Hutchison has been in the medical imaging equipment market since 2003. As his business grew, he pioneered buying and selling medical equipment online and eventually began offering leasing and financing to meet market demands and help customers. His market expertise goes beyond traditional medical imaging and finance support, as he’s spearheading cloud-based lending solutions for vendors across the sector.