If you’re considering buying a computed tomography (CT) scanner for your center, you want to make sure that you’re getting the right equipment for your needs. This will be quite an expensive transaction, so you need to be mindful of the machine you are getting. Doing so not only lets you get the best value out of your investment but also helps you achieve better images and more accurate diagnoses.
One particular specification you’ll want to look at as you shop around is the slice count. This refers to the number of rows of detectors in a CT’s z-axis. Essentially, the higher the slice count, the lower the scan time and the higher the picture resolution. That said, a low slice count can be completely sufficient for most practices and imaging centers.
To help you make the right choice when it comes to CT scanner slice counts, here are the five variations you need to know:
If you run a veterinarian clinic or a department with a small number of patients, a 4-slice CT scanner is already a good choice. While this type performs scans more slowly than the others in this list, they can be sufficient if you have a reduced need for fast diagnostic imaging.
However, you should take note that this type also has a less powerful performance than the rest in this list. It may have a slightly reduced sensitivity in its diagnostic capabilities as well. Nevertheless, it’s still a suitable choice for non-urgent follow-up procedures. On top of that, it is among the cheapest scanners on the market.
This type is the popular choice among many clinics and radiology departments, and for a good reason. 16-slice CT scanners have a much faster scanning time than the 4-slice, making it a great option for busy centers with a steady influx of patients. A 16-slice can easily make long patient queues manageable.
32- to 40-Slice CT
Like 16-slice scanners, 32- and 40-slice scanners are also preferred by centers and healthcare facilities accommodating time-sensitive diagnostic imaging needs. However, the latter has a remarkably shorter scan time compared to the former. This is because 32- and 40-slice provide more coverage per gantry rotation.
On that note, you should remember that this type is more expensive than 16-slice.
This is considered state-of-the-art as it can produce high-quality images at very fast scan times. Because of these capabilities, 64-slice is very helpful in cardiac and trauma scannings as well as in high-volume emergencies.
It’s also worth mentioning that this type of scanner can be used to perform CT angiography. As this does not require cardiac catheterization, it can significantly help your facility save time and money.
The catch is that, with all these features, 64-slice CT scanners come with a hefty price tag.
If 64-slice scanners are considered state-of-the-art, it could be said that 128-slice scanners are top-notch. These can provide whole-body scans in a matter of seconds—all while producing incredibly sharp 3D images.
However, it pays to remember that they’re not a practical choice for clinical facilities and smaller centers considering its features and costs. They are more suitable for cardiac departments and research facilities.
A CT scanner purchase is not a small transaction. Considering this, you need to understand your choices and read through specifications to find the right machine for your facility. As you do this, one particular specification you need to take a closer look at is the slice count. This greatly influences a scanner’s scanning time and image quality, as well as its upfront costs. To make the best decision, always consider your needs as well as your budget.
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