How much does an MRI machine cost? And what is the difference in price for a new and used MRI scanner?
If you are about to purchase an MRI and are wondering about these questions – then you have come on the right site.
When looking for MRI systems, it is possible to get MRI systems within the price range of 30.000 to 500.000 euro. And it is the needs you have that will determine the type of MRI system you should acquire.
The cheapest possible MRI system is the Esaote C-Scan, which is an “office scanner”. It is an excellent choice for orthopedists who need good images of extremities. This system does not require any additional shielding, therefore, it can be installed in a small office.
At the other end of the scale, there are newer systems that are 5- to 7-years-old, which are the most common, younger aged MRI systems on the used market. Here we talk about systems with zero boiloff magnets and high gradients, and some systems are wide bores.
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to the question – How much does an MRI machine cost? – as there are many factors influencing the price.
To mention a few:
The year of manufacture (YOM), field strength, gradient strength, slew rate, and channels. The higher number on these, the higher the price.
In this blog post, we offer you a simplified overview of MRI machine prices and give a short description of the factors that influence them the most. For a quick overview of the prices of used systems, have a look at the price matrix below.
|Tesla||0.2T - Extremities||0.2T - Whole Body||0.3T - 0.4T||1.5T||1.5T||3T||3T|
|YOM||-||-||-||2000 - 2006||2008 - 2012||< 2006||2008 >|
|Price for the Used MRI||30 - 80||80 - 120||200 - 300||around 150||250 - 300||around 200||400 - 500|
|Example of an MRI||Esaote C-Scan||Siemens Magnetom Concerto||Siemens Magnetom C||Siemens Symphony||Toshiba Vantage Titan||Philips Achieva||Siemens Prisma|
T = Tesla, YOM = Year of Manufacture
Note: The prices are in thousand euros and are for the systems only. They do not include warranty or installation.
Elaboration of the Price Matrix
MRI machines come in a variety of sizes and powers. Their imaging power is measured in a magnetic field strength unit called Tesla. Moreover, the systems can be divided into low-field and high-field MRIs.
In the table above, you can see the different prices of MRI systems based on their field strength (Teslas – T) and year of manufacture, which are two of the biggest price indicators.
As mentioned, the prices are for used systems. So, what is the difference in price for a new, refurbished, and a used system?
The general rule of thumb is:
The price of the used systems mentioned here is typically 50-80% lower than the price of the new machines. And the prices for OEM refurbished systems are usually 30-40% lower than the prices of completely new systems.
The conclusion to this?
If you decide to purchase a used or refurbished system, you can get a more advanced and powerful MRI machine than you would if you bought a new MRI.
In addition, the development of MRI scanners is fairly slow. Therefore, the benefits of buying used systems will save you a lot of money without compromising image quality and speed.
Low-field MRI Machines: 0.2T – 0.4T
Low-field MRI scanners include the 0.2T, 0.3T, and the 0.4T MRIs. They are usually open bore MRIs.
The image quality is relatively low, and they require longer scan times compared to the high-field MRI scanners.
So why are they still on the market?
Although the open MRI systems are less powerful, they address the comfort and potential claustrophobia of patients. They are definitely a good alternative for those who would otherwise not be able to have an MRI scan. Furthermore. they are way cheaper.
The 0.2T MRIs are the cheapest MRIs on the market. You can find them in two price categories. Firstly, systems that are used only for extremities and cost 30 – 80.000 euros, for instance, the Esaote E and C-scan 0.2T.
The second category are systems in the price range of 80 – 120.000 euros, these are full body MRIs such as the Siemens Magnetom Concerto.
Nevertheless, there are exceptions. Even though the Esaote G-Scan is used for extremities, its price is between 80 – 120.000 euros. This system stands out because it has a movable magnet that allows you to scan your patients while they are on their feet.
How is that good?
It releases the pressure on the spine of your patients, which results in clearer images than if they were on their back.
In the next category, the used 0.3T to 0.4T MRIs cost almost twice as much as the 0.2T. The current price range of the systems on the used market is 200 – 300.000 euros. These MRIs are used for full body examinations. Models that belong in this category are the Siemens Magnetom C 0.35T and the Hitachi Aperto 0.4T.
High-field MRI Machines: 1.5T – 3T
The high-field MRI systems are commonly classified as closed MRI scanners. These systems are very powerful. Higher Tesla strength also means a stronger magnetic field and thus clearer images of deep tissues.
As these MRIs are closed, they can make some patients feel claustrophobic. Furthermore, purchase prices of the newest models, as well as their maintenance cost, can be very high as they are helium-cooled.
Nowadays, the standard for MRI imaging in a clinical setting is the 1.5T MRI. The machines are faster than lower strength MRIs and are ideal for abdominal and chest MRIs.
Their price range?
It´s a bit complicated.
1.5T MRIs manufactured between 2000 and 2006 cost around 150.000 euros, for instance, the Siemens
Symphony and Philips Intera 1.5T. While the prices of the systems manufactured between 2008 and 2012 are 250-350.000 euros. Examples of the 1.5T MRI produced after 2008 are the Siemens Magnetom Avanto as well as the Toshiba Vantage Titan.
And what about 3T MRIs?
These machines generate a magnetic field that is twice the strength of 1.5T MRIs machines and 10 to 15 times the strength of low-field or open MRI scanners.
One of the biggest advantages of the 3T MRI machine is its ability to reduce image noise. In addition, the 3T MRIs are great for visualizing very fine details, such as the vessels of the brain or heart.
Again, the price of the used systems depends on the year of manufacture. 3T MRIs produced before 2006 cost around 200.000 euros such as the Philips Achieva and Philips Intera.
However, machines from 2008 and onwards are double the price, they can cost from 400-500.000 euros. For instance the Philips Ingenia, Siemens Prisma, Siemens Skyra, and Siemens Verio.
How Much Does an MRI Machine Cost – Additional Factors
As mentioned at the beginning, year of manufacture and Teslas are not the only factors influencing prices of MRI systems.
What are the others?
Gradient Strength and Slew Rate
Together, the gradient strength and slew rate are the engines that bring your MRI machine to its top performance.
Gradient strength is measured in millitesla per meter (mT/m) while the slew rate is measured in mT/m in millisecond (mT/m/ms) and the stronger they are the better the image clarity will be.
However, it is important to think about the type of studies and applications you will perform. For example, neuro and cardiac applications require higher gradient strength than orthopedic or general applications, therefore, MRI with higher gradient strength and higher slew rate are more expensive, and the price reflects the capability of the MRI system.
Another determinant of the price is the MRI coil type. The more channels the coil has, the more expensive it gets. The highest priced coils belong in the category 16 – 32 channel coils, the less expensive are 4 – 8 channel coils.
Hence, the more channels the coil has, the more you will pay for the MRI system.
We have already mentioned open and closed bore MRIs, but what if you are looking for an MRI with a wide bore?
Wide bore MRIs are more comfortable for patients, as their opening is 70cm instead of 60cm. That gives the patients a feeling that the MRI is very wide. The demand for wide bore MRIs is on the rise, therefore, its price has been increasing.
Magnet type: Permanent Magnet vs Helium-Cooled Magnet
And how does magnet type influence the price of an MRI machine?
MRIs up to 0.4T have permanent magnets, there are only a few 0.4T MRIs on the market with helium-cooled magnets and these are also more expensive than MRIs with permanent magnets.
When purchasing a helium-cooled MRI, remember that it is both more expensive to purchase and to maintain as it has high running costs.
Additional Costs Associated with the Purchase of an MRI Machine
It´s not the end. Yet.
There are also other costs you must consider when purchasing an MRI.
For example – installation and warranty.
Both will increase the price you will pay for the MRI system.
Keep in mind that most medical imaging resellers do not offer a warranty if you decide to do the installation yourself.
Training your staff if they have not worked with such a machine before. MRI systems must be operated by professionals, and thus, it is very important to give your practitioners the right education. Which is also not going to be free.
And if you decide to purchase a helium-cooled MRI, you should count on additional costs for helium because it is pricey.
How Do We Determine What Systems You Should Buy?
It is often the finances that set the limit to which MRI system you should purchase, but the first thing to do is to identify your needs:
- What kind of examinations are you going to perform?
- Do you have any nearby competitors?
- What service do you require for the system?
- What facilities do you have?
- How many patients do you expect?
- What is the average cost for an examination?
When you have these questions answered, it is easier to find the right system for you.
Conclusion: How Much Does an MRI Machine Cost?
As you can see, there are many MRI systems available on the market for used medical equipment and their prices vary greatly. Some of them have high-priced features that you might not even need.
When purchasing an MRI, be clear about your requirements.
Not everyone needs a 3 tesla (3T) magnet. Not everyone needs 16 or 32-channel coils.
Keep in mind that it is not only the system that costs you money but also the maintenance and running costs that come with it.
We hope that this blog post answered the question: How much does an MRI machine cost? – If you have any more questions, contact us for more specific information.
Would you like to learn more about MRIs?
Then you can read our blog post The Features and Benefits of MRI Systems.