A Computerized Tomography scan, often referred to as a CT or CAT scan uses computers and rotating X-ray machines to create cross-sectional images of the body. The purpose of these images is to provide more
detailed information than normal X-ray images, showing blood vessels, bones and soft tissues in various parts of the body.
Here at Vertu Medical we are often approached by our clients who are looking to purchase a CT scanner asking the question as to ‘what is the cost of a CT scanner?”. This is not as easy a question to answer as it may first appear to be. There is no one size fits all with the supply of a CT scanner, and the answer that will lead you to purchasing the correct CT scanner to best meet your requirements will depend upon a number of factors to help find the right machine to fit your clinical and financial requirements, which we will discuss here:
Consider what type of application you will be performing with your chosen CT scanner
The type and nature of the clinical studies that you will be undertaking using a CT scanner is one of the most important factors in determining the cost of a CT scanner that will best suit your needs. It is very tempting to purchase the most advanced unit, however the best investment is made by matching the CT to the facility’s requirements as the price difference between a CT scanner ideal for routine scans may be considerably less than a one designed for more specialist procedures. The reason for this is that the application helps to determine how many slices per rotation your CT scanner will need to take. The ‘slice count’ refers to the number of cross-sectional images acquired with each rotation of the CT’s gantry. A CT scanner with a higher slice count will reduce scan times, lower radiation dosages and produce thinner slices which give more detailed images, and capabilities for advanced scans.
For example, cardiac imaging is generally perceived to be the most demanding application for CT scanning, the major reason being the constant motion of the heart. So, if you were undertaking basic cardiac investigatory work we would recommend the popular option of a 64 slice CT scanner which is more than adequate for many applications. However, it should be noted that with the use of a 64 slice CT scanner the heart rate does need to be decreased with medication prior to the scanning examination. In comparison if you were looking to purchase a CT scanner to use within another application such as perfusion and angio studies, then we would suggest the supply of a 4 slice CT scanner.
If your clinical investigations require greater image quality we would suggest the purchase of a 128 slice CT scanner which can generate 128 slices of high definition in a single rotation. A 128 slice CT scanner is the ideal choice for investigation of cardiac or respiratory conditions which can be difficult to get high-quality images of with other types of scanners. 128 slice CT scanners are also the ideal choice for obese patients as they are able to scan through the tissue with much less noise and due to the faster speed of these scanners less motion artifacts are obtained. In addition, the technician is able to view more clearly the details between calcium, erosion and lumen in vessels.
The slice count of a CT scanner is of course not only relevant to the application, but also to the cost of the scanner. So, for example a refurbished 4-8 slice CT scanner would start at approximately £25,000 to £50,000; a 64 slice £80,000 to £120,000 and for a 128 slice scanner on average £172,000 to £497,000. New CT scanners would of course cost considerably more. These pricing examples are purely for purchase of the CT scanner and do not include installation, warranty etc.
Features of the Software and Hardware within the CR Scanner
The capabilities of CT scanners are linked to the combination of software and hardware that is utilised within the equipment and this can have a very significant impact upon the cost of a CT scanner. For example, the software provided for cardiac applications can be over 50% more than the cost of lung software suite. This factor supports our first point of consideration regarding the importance of understanding your clinical requirements prior to making a purchase.
A major impact on price comes from the specifications of the x-ray tube as these can be expensive to replace costing anywhere up to £140,000! The age of the tube is a factor that should perhaps be considered if looking at a refurbished CT scanner – there is some debated over this. However a tube can be affected if it is left inactive for a long period of time. The tube count is a good guideline as to the condition of the tube and the remaining life of it.
Inclusion (or exclusion) of workstations
The cost of a CT scanner can be influenced by the inclusion, or not, of a workstation. An Acquisition Workstation controls the CT scanner and is part of the system. These allow medics to view scan images and undertake simple analyses relevant to diagnosis. But where a CT scanner is used in a clinical setting with many patients this is not always practical as images are not able to be processed whilst new patients are undergoing examination. Processing Workstations are those where a computer follows that allows medics to analyse images after they are taken.
The type of workstation that you select and the options will have a direct influence upon the cost of your CT scanner.
Age of the CT scanner
If the CT scanner that you are considering purchasing is an older system this will of course have an effect on the costs. In addition the age will also determine the options available and the system software that can be use. Many of the newer CT scanners utilise the Windows operating system, however older equipment may be based upon Unix which tends to be not as popular with technicians, although it is known to be a very stable software that has few bugs and issues.
Which brand do you favour?
The main players within CT scanner manufacturing are GE, Philips, Toshiba and Siemens. At Vertu Medical we support and supply all of these major brands but it may be that your choice (and therefore financial commitment) of CT scanner is influenced by which brand your technical staff are trained to use. Generally speaking GE is known be the most premium priced brand however, this can be outweighed by the fact that it is generally less expensive in terms of parts and maintenance costs and these type of factors do need to be considered when considering cost of your purchase. If you are happy to choose a water-cooled CT scanner then the cheapest CT scanners are provided by Philips and Siemens. However, the newer CT scanning new systems provided by Siemens tend to have a dual-tube, which is known to be expensive to repair.
Here at Vertu Medical our team of experts are happy to provide you with the very best advice regarding the cost of a potential CT scanner purchase. Please get in touch by calling +44 (0)208 392 5161 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.