How Much Do CT Scanners Cost?

by | Sep 18, 2020 | CT

Reading Time: 5 minutes

How Much do CT Scanners Cost?

Refurbished and new CT scanners can cost around $50,000 to $2,500,000. There are many different factors that dictate a CT scanners price, we break down slice counts and additional costs to keep in mind when choosing the right CT scanner for you.

CT Scanner Pricing Guide

Like most medical equipment, CT scanners can be purchased new or refurbished, which drastically affects their prices. As mentioned above, the price for these machines also increases as the “slice count” increases. For these reasons, the price range for CT scan machines can be anywhere from $50,000 to $2,500,000. A refurbished, low slice CT scan machine might be enough to do what many practices need them to do. However, depending on the practice’s needs, a higher-priced and higher performing machine might be required.

With an increase in the price tag also comes increases in image quality and decreases in radiation exposure and wait times. The 64 slice scanner, which is standard for hospitals and can do some more in-depth imagining, can range from about $500,000 to $700,000 for a new machine, and $175,000 to $390,000 for a refurbished machine. Premium scanners (those with a 128, 256, or 320 slice count) can range from about $675,000 to 2.1 million dollars to buy a new machine.

Refurbished CT Scanner Price Range

4 – 8 Slice CT Scanner – $50,000 to $70,000

16 – 32 Slice CT Scanner – $80,000 to $120,000

64 Slice CT Scanner – $100,000 to $140,000

128 Slice CT Scanner – $130,000 to $190,000

256 Slice CT Scanner – $220,000 +

If you’re looking to purchase a refurbished CT scanner, you can request a quote here.

Types of CT scanners

The degree of precision and clarity and the surface area from a CT scan determines the type. CT scanners are referred to by “slice,” from 4 slice up to 320 slice, with the former requiring several scans to provide a full picture of the heart or other organs and the latter providing the best quality, greatest surface area images. The term “slice count” refers to the number of cross-sectional images the CT scan machine creates with each pass. Higher slice count machines reduce scan times and radiation while creating more detailed images that can be used by medical professionals to gather more specific information about a patient’s condition.

As slice count increases, so does the price of the machine. It can be difficult for a facility to justify spending millions more on a higher slice count CT scan machine if they don’t have the volume of patients required to recuperate those funds. Many doctors also believe that images with the amount of detail offered by a higher slice CT scan machine are unnecessary, except for a specific and small population of patients. Others, however, prefer the quality and size of a higher slice count CT scanner when the facility is able to afford one.

Slice count has increased as technology has, and many doctors are content interpreting images with around a 64 slice count. For general studies and a moderate volume of patients, the 16 slice count machine can also work well and is much more moderately priced than the high resolution 320 slice count machine, which might be best for very specific heart defect determinations.

What is a CT Scan Used For?

CT, or computed tomography scans are used to give doctors a view of the inside of your body using a series of photos. They use x-rays and computer software to show images of specific bones, organs or joints in individual “slices” that come together to give the doctor a full picture of your insides.

Doctors use CT scans for a variety of reasons, including to look for defects in the heart and blood vessels. They might also use these scans for things like viewing a specific part of the body to prepare for an operation, or to diagnose a blockage. A CT scan machine circles your body using multiple, thin x-ray beams to take a series of small images while you lay still inside.

CTs and MRIs are similar, but not the same. MRIs instead use magnetic fields and radio waves to take images of the internal body. This reduces the risk of radiation exposure. MRIs take longer to collect the images they produce, sometimes as long as an hour as opposed to the ten minutes or so a CT scan might take. Both types of scans are used to give doctor’s a picture of a specific part of your body.

Other Factors That Affect CT Scanner Costs

As with all medical and other technology, there are multiple brands and models of CT scan machines. GE, Siemens and Philips, whose names you might recognize from other household products, market their own versions of these machines at similar price points. They also sell hardware and software for each of these machines, depending on the model and what the facility plans to use the machine for. Hardware and software packages can run in the tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes up to $100,000.

X-ray tubes, which are required as the energy source for refurbished models of CT scan machines, can also run in the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars range. This price range reflects the bearing style, life expectancy, and power output of the tube.

Maintenance, operational costs, and facility changes or planning are additional factors in determining the overall price of having and operating a CT scanner or MRI machine. These machines can cost around $100,000 annually just to operate, due to their hot-running temperatures and the energy required to cool and run these machines. Facilities also need to consider the room in which the machine will be used, as patients and medical professionals should be shielded from radiation unless exposure is absolutely necessary. Overall, it can cost a facility between 4 and 6 million dollars to install and operate these machines in appropriately designed suites.

For this reason, you might see a variation in pricing for your MRI or CT scan from facility to facility. Many factors go into determining the purchase price and operation of these machines, and hospitals and practices often pay huge costs both upfront and in the long term in making these images available for your treatment.

Why CT & MRI Scans Cost So Much

Have you ever wondered why medical bills for CT scans and MRIs are so high? Well, that’s partly because of the practice’s cost to purchase, install, and maintain CT and MRI machines. These machines require special cooling systems and x-ray protective or magnetic-resistant facilities to protect the machines and the people who use them. The purchase price alone for these machines can run well into the million-dollar range, and maintenance can quickly match that. Your medical bills reflect the costs required by the facility to have these machines available to you.

There are multiple types of CT scanners and MRI machines, and their features dictate their price for purchase and operation. Some are designed to take basic, low-resolution images for mostly healthy patients. In contrast, others can take more precise images with a larger imaging area for patients with cardiovascular defects or other medical conditions that make CT scans more difficult. The difference in price between these types of CT scanners can again amount to millions of dollars.

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