A Professional’s Guide to Buying CT Scanners

5 Helpful Tips for Planning a Purchase

buying CT scanners
Image credit: Siemens

If you are considering buying CT scanners to upgrade your hospital facilities, we are willing to help you along on the journey. And if you are anything like us, you want to be fully informed, so here are 5 great tips outlining some of what you need to know. 

As CT devices continue to evolve, it is important to stay up-to-date on emerging technologies. Leslee Shaw, Ph.D, FACC, FASNC, FAHA, co-director of the Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute recently commented:

“If you blink your eyes, you have missed several very prominent, randomized trials that support the utility of CT … We have more than just the pretty picture, we have seen dramatic growth in the technical aspects of CT with better image quality, better resolution, and we can go on and on. “

Leslee Shaw, Ph.D, FACC, FASNC, FAHA

As with all medical equipment and medical devices, it is highly recommended for the buyer to inspect the equipment before purchase. We perform detailed inspections of all of our equipment before the acquisition, but you may not know what to look for. There are several important product features we look into, so let us help inform your initial device inspection. 

Initial Considerations

Claudio Smuclovisky, M.D., FACC, FSCCT, a cardiovascular CT imaging systems expert and director of South Florida Imaging Cardiovascular Institute and Holy Cross Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, made this observation:

“The way you need to look at this is that the CT scanner is a tool, and you need the right tool for the right job, so it will depend on the hospital and what they plan to use it for.”

Claudio Smuclovisky, M.D., FACC, FSCCT

Foremost, you should be aware whether you want a machine that incorporates advanced technologies or if your goal is to acquire a scanner that delivers the highest worth to your medical practice. 

Moreover, you need to determine your clinical requirements and then narrow down the correct scanner. You may be tempted and excited to buy the most advanced unit, but the best investment is done by matching the facility requirements to the CT scanner. Consider the following factors before making an investment. 

Slice Count

You might be thinking that more slices imply a better scanner. From a marketing point, slice count is just a simple factor to compare two CT scanners. In reality, however, “better” depends on the utilization as well as a scanner’s ability to produce a high-quality picture for patient care. 

The meaning of the term slice count is the number of cross-sectional scans obtained with each rotation of the scanner’s gantry. Advantages of equipment with more slice count include:

  • Lower radiation dosages 
  • Reduced scan times 
  • Ability to perform advanced scan supporting cardiac studies 
  • Thinner slices for precise images

However, for a number of facilities that conduct routine studies, a CT scanner with a lower slice count would do the job almost perfectly. A scanner with a higher slice count costs more. If you do not require precise and advanced images, you should refrain from buying an expensive CT scanner.

Detector Area Coverage

Another essential factor while buying a CT scanner is detector area coverage, which determines how much of a body the machine can scan/image. It is crucial to note that scanners with the equal slice count may come with varying detector area coverage. 

For instance, detector coverage can differ from 19.5 to 40mm of a CT scanner with a 64-slice count used in a high intense critical environment such as cardiac and trauma. If a greater area is covered, the amount of stitching required to review the images of a body part or organ of the body would be less.

Hardware and Software Features 

CT scanners are usually categorized by their slice count; however, their capabilities are associated with a combination of software and hardware. These features may have a notable impact on the machine’s price. 

For instance, a cardiac arrest suite may cost between $35,000 – $10000, while the lung application may cost you $15,000-$35,000 more. This reinforces the gravity of addressing the clinical requirements as well as the type of studies/practices a facility will carry out before purchasing.  

Complementing the detector is an x-ray tube, which is an energy source employed to form the image. Depending on the model and the manufacturer, there may be several tube options. These include bearing style, life expectancy, and maximum power output. 

Support and Service

The total cost of ownership of a CT scanner is not only its price. The electricity, maintenance, operation costs, and site planning are other components. A new CT scanner comes with a 1-year labor and parts warranty. But in the case where refurbished CT scan on sale is bought, service is considered as an additional item. 

Additionally, you should be able to access technical support easily via the toll-free number provided by the manufacturer. Even the software should be provided with regular updates at no extra cost since the goal of the manufacturers is to enhance the equipment’s overall performance and eliminate the manufacturer’s malfunction.  

An OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) service, multi-vendor, or ISO (Independent Service Provider) contract can be used. Through the OEM, a full labor and parts service contract is usually 10%-14% of the buying price. ISO and multi-vendor contracts can decrease the cost by up to 30%. 

Final Considerations – Let Us Help Guide Your Purchase

Lucid Equipment purchases medical devices directly from hospitals and medical service providers. We perform an initial inspection on location as well as additional inspections whenever shipping is involved. This is our business model, as we lead you through an efficient and transparent buying process. 

We offer far more detailed suggestions for a variety of devices, and we’d be happy to lead you through the buying process. Check our Medical Equipment Marketplace or browse our CT Scan listings to find equipment currently for sale.

Contact us anytime with questions.