Today I’m writing about The Ferlic Filter Company. It was founded by Dan Ferlic close to 30 years ago when Dan was a radiographer in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. Instead of getting all technical on what kinds of material he uses and things like that, I’m just going to tell you my experience with the products he produces and why I love them so much.
When we first went digital with Agfa CR back in 2002, one of the first things we noticed was how ugly Swimmers and cross table lateral hips were. This was especially distressing to me as those were two projections I nailed 95% of the time and they were tightly collimated and gorgeous. Positioning wise they were the same, but no matter how well I collimated and what technique I used, they were just grey and ugly. It was a sad state of affairs.
I can’t even remember how we found out about the Ferlic Swimmers/lateral hip filter (see image 1) but we ordered it immediately to check it out. The company will send you one for a free trial for 2 weeks and if you like it, you buy it, if not just send it back. I’ve never asked if anyone sends a filter back, but I would be amazed if people do. And that’s because this filter works like magic!!
In fact, if you look up filters in the latest edition of Merrill’s, you’ll see the following 2 sets of images. This is because the Ferlic Filter is the standard against which all other filters are compared. The company now sells 6 different filters, with the Swimmers /lateral hip being the king. We have 4 of the 6 different styles (cross table lateral L-spine, wedge, lateral c-spine) and there’s also a shoulder and scoliosis filter.
Anyway, we got the filter and immediately my Swimmers and cross table lateral hips are as gorgeous as anything I ever shot with film. I’m loving life again and so are all the other radiographers in my department. I asked Dan for an explanation of what the filters are doing and his explanation for the cross table lateral hip was “the filter reduces primary beam to the distal thigh allowing for a equitable beam distribution from the thigh to the hip joint. By reducing overexposure to the distal thigh, scatter is suppressed and the image is improved. This is true for all the filters”.
Then years later when I became a speaker, I decided to see what kind of experiment I could do to prove how good this filter is. So I took my thorax and skull phantom and put my shoulder/arm phantom next to it to simulate a Swimmers projection. It turned out I couldn’t even penetrate through all that plastic, so I ended up taking away the arm phantom. As you can see in image 4 without the filter the lateral c-spine is completely burned out, but with the filter it is as beautiful as can be. This baby can just clean up scatter like a hot knife can cut through butter!!
As Dan is always creating and inventing, he’s come up with a couple of other products that we also love at CHOMP. He’s developed these special bags for the image receptor (IR) that he calls Sliders bags. They are made from polyethylene and not only are they incredibly sturdy (almost untearable) they are also super slippery, like a patient slider board. In image 5 my good friend Lito is holding a $1000,000 detector just by the bag!! This makes it really easy to put the IR behind the patient and even easier to pull it out. The Sliders bags come in a few sizes, so they will fit 14×17 cassettes and detectors – with and without the cords.
The other Ferlic Filter product we love is the Anchor Leg Stabilizer, which is a fancy name for a leg/foot holder. It is to be used any time you need a leg up in the air. We use it for cross table lateral hips and knees. I remember talking with Dan while he was still designing it and figuring out the exact angle it needed to be so that it couldn’t tip over even an extra large patient was pushing against it with a lot of force. Well, he figured it out and the Anchor Leg Stabilizer works like a charm.
I have been telling people about these products since I became a public speaker. As money is tight and most facilities don’t want to spend extra cash on new fangled things, this is how I tell folks to go about getting a filter. Tell whatever radiologist you know who really cares about quality images all about it. Explain that you’re going to get one for a 2 week trial and that every Swimmers and cross table lateral hip will be taken using the filter. At the end of the 2 weeks the radiologist will be in love with the filter and never want to see another one of those images again without it. Then have this radiologist go to upper management and tell them to buy it. This way it sort of becomes the radiologist’s idea and there’s a way better chance that the filter will be purchased.
Just in case you’re wondering, I don’t get any kick backs from the Ferlic company. I just love their products. At our hospital and off site facilities we have at least 10 filters and we go through 30-40 Sliders bags a day.
To learn more about the Ferlic Filter products, go to: http://www.ferlicfilter.com/