CT X-ray Tube Guide – X-ray Tube Price, Brands, and Lifetime

This article has been updated 29-03-2023

In this CT X-ray Tube Guide you will be guided through how a CT tube functions and what factors you need to be aware of before purchasing a CT tube. For example, X-ray tube price and X-ray tube life expectancy.

By the end of this short read, you will have a much clearer understanding of what a tube does, how to prolong the life of your tube, and what price range you can expect when buying either a new or used tube.

Let us get started!

How Does a CT X-ray Tube Function?

So, what is the function of a CT X-ray tube?

All CT scanners must have an X-ray tube. The tube is the most important part of a CT scanner. This is because during a scan, the X-ray tube rotates around the patient while it emits narrow beams of X-rays through the patient’s body. 

These X-rays are then received by the detector which sits opposite of the tube. Here, the X-rays are transmitted to a computer where an image is produced digitally. This all happens while the patient is moved through the gantry of the CT machine. 

Thus, if there was no tube, there would be no image of the patient’s body. 

You may wonder, how many X-ray tubes are in a CT scanner? 

You can get CTs with two tubes, but most CT scanners have only one tube. Thus, CTs with one tube are the most commonly seen on the market.

Now that you know the function of a CT tube, let us take a look at the X-ray tube life expectancy.

CT X-ray Tube Life Expectancy

How long does a CT X-ray tube last? 

The X-ray tube lifetime depends on factors such as patient throughput/tube count, environment (humidity and temperature in the room), whether you have a stable power supply, types of examinations, and maintenance.

Because the tube is the most expensive part of a CT scanner, you will find that calculating the X-ray tube life expectancy will be beneficial – and cost effective. 

There are four different ways you can measure tube count, and thus predict, the X-ray tube life:

  • Total patient exams
  • Clicks/counts
  • Scan seconds
  • mAs (Milliampere Seconds)

To read more about the measurement methods, read our guide to how to measure X-ray tube count.

As mentioned before, maintenance is important for tube life and plays a huge role in prolonging the X-ray tube life. 

So, how do you maximize the X-ray tube life?

There are certain things you can do to extend the life of your tube. 

CT X-ray Tube Guide - X-ray Tube Price, Brands, and Lifetime

A few tips are to:

  • Warm up your CT scanner before every examination. This is because warming up the system will help prevent heat shocks as the machine produces a high level of heat during usage.
  • Remember to only perform the suggested amount of examinations. In this way, you will protect the X-ray tube from any potential melting.
  • Only operate within the recommended level of mA, exposure time, and voltage needed for the specific examination of your patients.
  • Make sure that the temperature in the room is right for your system – not too hot and not too humid. This will prevent the tube from being worn down.
  • Ensure that the machine has a stable power supply at all times. This ensures that there are no spikes or dips in the power that could potentially harm the machine.

All machines come with a planning guide in which you can find information about what environmental requirements your machine has.

Do check this, to ensure you give your system the best care and that you get the highest X-ray tube efficiency.

Even when you are cautious when it comes to system care, sometimes one can accidently overlook signs that the CT tube might fail.

Some of the signs are:

  • If the machine starts making loud noises. This can mean that the bearing inside the tube housing is becoming worn down.
  • If error messages occur. Especially, if these messages are related to arcing and if the messages either interrupt the scanning, or if they are followed by a system shut-down.
  • If the systems start to take longer breaks between scans. This means that the system is reaching its limit for operating temperature. CTs take breaks between scans to give the tube a break. But, if the breaks become unusually long this may indicate an issue.

Therefore, to ensure high X-ray tube efficiency, it is very important to pay extra attention to your system so you can notice the signs before anything inconvenient happens. 

Now that we have gone through some general topics about CT tubes, let us take a look at X-ray tubes used by different CT scanner manufacturers.

CT X-ray Tube Guide - X-ray Tube Price, Brands, and Lifetime

What Tubes Do Top CT Manufacturers Use and What Is X-ray Tube Price?

The top CT manufacturers use different X-ray tubes in their CT scanners. In this article, we focus on Toshiba/Canon, Siemens, Philips, and GE as these are the most commonly found on the used medical imaging equipment market. 

In the following you will be introduced to four different tables. Each table represents one of the above mentioned CT manufacturers. In the tables you get an overview of what tubes the CT manufacturers use in their different CT scanners. At the same time, the tables provide an overview of the various tubes’ pricing – both new and used.

Let us start with Canon/Toshiba.

Canon/Toshiba Tube Types and X-ray Tube Price

Canon/Toshiba - X-ray Tubes & X-ray Tube Price Table

Here, you can see that Toshiba/Canon uses many different tubes. For example, for the Activion and Alexion CTs, they use the tube CXB-400C (4,0 MhU). This tube is at the lower end price wise, as a new tube costs between 50-60.000 Euros, and a used tube costs between 25-40.000 Euros. 

On the other hand, the Aquilion One Vision uses the tube CXB-750F (MCS-7288A) (7,5 MhU) which is more costly. This is because, as new, this tube costs between 125-135.000 Euros, and the used tube costs between 65-85.000 Euros. 

If we take a look at GE, you can see that they also use various types of tubes.

GE Tube Types and X-ray Tube Price

GE - X-ray Tubes & X-ray Tube Price Table

For GE, their BrightSpeed Elite 16, is the CT that uses the most affordable type of X-ray tube. It uses a DUNLEE DU 6308 (6,3 MhU) (DA200ULTRA). As new, this tube costs between 45-50.000 Euros, and as used it costs 25–35.000 Euros. 

The most expensive X-ray tube is used in the Optima 660. Optima 660 uses the Performix 40 Plus tube. A new one costs between 190-200.000 Euros, and the used tube costs between 140-170.000 Euros. 

The BrightSpeed Elite 16, does not only use the DUNLEE DU X-ray tube. It can also use the MX200 CT III Performix Plus, the MX165 Solarix and the DA 165NP for Select and Lite. 

MX200 CT III Performix Plus
– Used price: 20-40.000 Euros

DA165NP (for Select/Lite) and MX165 Solarix
– New price: 30-35.000 Euros
– Used prie: 10-20.000 Euros 

Now, let us take a look at Siemens.

Siemens Tube Types and X-ray Tube Price

Siemens - X-ray Tubes & X-ray Tube Price Table

For Siemens the most affordable tube is found in the Somatom Emotion 16. This tube is a Dura 422 MV and as new this tube costs between 80-85.000 Euros, while the used version costs between 30-60.000 Euros. 

The most expensive X-ray tube found in a Siemens system is the Vectron which is used in the Force (2×192). This X-ray tube’s price is anywhere from 190-200.000 Euros. 

The last brand that we are going to take a look at is Philips. 

Philips Tube Types and X-ray Tube Price

Philips - X-ray Tubes & X-ray Tube Price Table

The Philips system that uses the most affordable tube is the MX16. The MX16 uses the DU5008C X-ray tube (5,0 MhU). As new, this tube has a price range from 100-110.000 Euros, and as used it costs between 35-65.000 Euros.

Philips Brilliance iCT 128 uses the most expensive X-ray tube. The CT xs Tube which, as new, costs between 190-200.000 Euros, and as used it costs 70-130.000 Euros.

All the ‘new’ X-ray tube prices listed in the tables are for guidance and thus change all the time. So please, feel free to contact us to get the current pricing for the tubes

The ‘used’ prices are also dynamic and can change just as fast. Further, the used price depends on factors such as YOM and tube count. Therefore, measuring the tube count will be very beneficial for you.

Each brand that we have discussed uses a different method to measure tube count. 

Toshiba/Canon uses the method clicks/count. Firstly, by looking at counts you can tell how many exposures the tube has performed. Secondly, the clicks can be used to calculate the amount of time the tube has been used. This is based on gantry rotation.

On the other hand, Siemens, GE, and Philips use the measurement method called scan seconds. Here, you measure the duration of the tube exposures. This is a very accurate way to measure, and Toshiba is known to also sometimes use this method.

Though GE has used scan seconds, they also use the method milliampere seconds (mAs). This method provides information about the duration of the exposures as well as how much power has gone through the tube. Milliampere seconds is considered to be the most accurate method of measurement because of the information it provides. 

Now that we have gone over several aspects to keep in mind when it comes to X-ray tubes, let us just sum up the most important points.

Sum up of CT X-ray Tube Guide

Now that we have gone over several aspects to keep in mind when it comes to X-ray tubes, let us just sum up the most important points.

What is the function of a CT tube?

An X-ray tube is the most important and the most expensive part of a CT scanner. It is the part of the machine that emits X-rays which makes it possible to produce images of patient’s bodies. Most commonly, there is only one tube in a CT scanner.

How long does a CT tube last?

X-ray tube life expectancy depends on tube count and maintenance of the system. You can predict the lifetime by measuring either Total Patient Exams, Clicks/Counts, Scan Seconds, or  Milliampere Seconds (mAs).

How do you maximize X-ray tube life?

It is possible to prolong the X-ray tube life by, for example, warming up the CT before every examination and by making sure that all system’s environmental requirements are met. 

It is very important to pay attention to your system. In this way, you can catch any signs of potential issues with the system or tube, and thus prevent them. For example, you can listen for loud humming noises which may indicate an issue with the tube housing.

What tube types do CT scanner manufacturers use? 

There are many different types of X-ray tubes and the companies Toshiba, GE, Siemens, and Philips all use various tubes for their CT scanners. For example, the Siemens Somatom Sensation 64 uses the Straton Z X-ray tube and the GE Optima CT580 uses the Dunlee DA240 X-ray tube. 

Visit the tables above for more information on what kinds of tubes each company uses.

What is the X-ray tube price?

The price of X-ray tubes that are used in Toshiba, GE, Siemens, and Philips CT scanners ranges anywhere from 45-200.000 Euros for a new tube. Whereas, for a used X-ray tube the price ranges from 25-170.000 Euros.

See more in the tables in the text above. So, it is safe to say that the tube price can vary a lot.

What tube count measurement methods do CT scanner manufacturers use?

Each CT manufacturer uses different methods to measure tube life expectancy. Toshiba/Canon usually uses Clicks/Counts, but sometimes uses Scan Seconds. Siemens, GE, and Philips all use Scan Seconds. However, GE mostly uses mAs.

You made it to the end! We hope that this blog post has provided you with some new and useful information about X-ray tubes. 

If you are not tired of reading yet, you can take a look at our other blog posts about CT scanner cost or our CT Scan Slice Types blog.

At LBN we sell a large range of spare parts, including used tubes. So, feel free to reach out to our sales team at sales@lbnmedical.com with any requests or questions. 

You can also sign up for our email crash course on CTs. Here, you will get information about all the main factors to consider when purchasing a CT scanner. When you sign up, you will also get the course material as an e-book!