How To Buy An MRI Machine

by | Sep 18, 2020 | MRI

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Not sure how to buy an MRI machine?

Make Sure You Ask These Questions.

Before purchasing an MRI system, it is vital to consider all the variables and technical points to make an informed buying decision. Some of the things to evaluate include the cost of an MRI machine, the technical system of the machine, type of image quality, and if you decide to buy a new MRI machine or a used one. You can use this list as a checklist that will help guide you on the very technical aspects of purchasing an MRI system.

Usually, buying a brand name MRI system will be the best thing for your team and yourself. If not for the quality assurance that a name brand gets you, it will also l be easier to repair and find replacement parts if necessary. If you’d also like to sell it in the future more people will be likely to be interested because of the trustworthy nature of the brand. Even if purchasing a used MRI machine, you still want to consider the following points.

  • Make sure your MRI system is FDA-approved. this is extremely important because without FDA approval as you know you cannot legally operate.
  • In terms of system control, the performance capacity of the system to process data acquisition, data communication, and data storage abilities should be top of mind.
  • Compliance with the IEC standard and all Dicom 3.0 MRI working modalities.
  • Examine the magnetic strength of the MRI system. Currently, the generally most accepted MRI magnetic field strength for regular use is 1.5T. However, there are higher amounts of strength that you can get like 3T.
  • Choose the bore diameter for your MRI system that is required for your practice, between 60cm and 70cm. Sometimes with a larger the bore diameter, the image quality can be lower as well as the size of the useful volume of view.
  • Determine the useful volume of view of the MRI machine based on the x, y, and z-axis dimensions.
  • Verify the homogeneity of the magnetic field in the center of the MRI equipment. Lower homogeneity, <1ppm, is what you’re looking for. Sometimes when buying a brand new MRI machine, the ppm will be 100 until you install it and run the full checks and calibrations on the system.
  • Figure out the stability of the magnetic field. You should be looking for high strength and high stability MRI machines.
  • Know what magnitude the magnetic field of the equipment is shielded. Look into the contours of the 5 Gauss magnetic field strength to confirm.
  • One of the most important aspects of your equipment is the condition and efficiency of the cooling block. Without it functioning properly, it can cause irreparable damage to your MRI system and be dangerous. DirectMed Parts & Service offers extensive liquid helium services so you never have to worry about replacing your coolant.
  • Know the rate at which helium evaporates per liter per month. This will help you time your helium fills ahead of schedule to ensure your system is always up and functioning during business hours. It will also allow you to correctly allocate funds and their release before filling.
  • Look into how protected the system your purchasing is against magnet quench. Magnet quench is very dangerous and can be avoided with the proper care of cryogenics in your system including regular liquid helium transfers, and in case of emergencies – urgent coldhead & compressor installations. DirectMed provides those emergency services as well promptly and efficiently.
  • Determine the degree of noise that is stated in an average dBA SPL. Look into how you can increase patient comfort and reduce their inconvenience in regards to the noise level.
  • Discover the magnet length that you want, keeping in mind that shorter magnet lengths are more comfortable for patients.
  • Know the specifications, x & y-axis, of the coils and amplifiers (magnetic field gradient system):
  1. Find the maximum amplitude of the field gradient that is stated in mT/m.
  2. Find the maximum allowable amplitude of the magnetic field gradient for a 100% duty cycle.
  3. Find the maximum slew rate of the magnetic field gradient that is stated in mT/m/ms.
  4. Keep in mind: The higher the value, the more possible it is to broaden the range of the examinations. It might also increase the working speed as well.
  • Another crucial component to make sure is in good condition, is the MRI RF power amplifier. The generally recommended power rating is above 10 kW. Since it may get heavily loaded by some working conditions, it’s important to note that higher power ratings will secure higher performance and higher reliability.
  • The “Faraday Cage” should be meticulously designed and installed according to the IEC standards to ensure perfect RF shielding which is a necessity. Accordingly, external RF interference attenuation should be more than 100 dB.
  • Determine the number of receivers, when coils are individually connected to separate receivers, aa higher performance is obtained. Some may have more economical configurations, allowing a receiver to contain several inputs as well as accepting more than one coil element at a time.
    • The minimum demand is 8 receivers per system. However, MRI machines with 32 receivers are extremely common as well, specifically if the parallel imaging mode is used.
  • Examine the performance of the receivers very carefully, looking almost exclusively for wide-band reception, 1mHz. A low-noise number figure is necessary and will improve the performance of the MRI system.
  • If possible, try to acquire a system that allows a parallel imaging mode as it can save time and lower image noise.
  • Determine the quality and type of coils in the MRI machine. Coils tend to be more expensive, which is why the cost of the replacement coils should be taken into account.
  • Some additional points to look out for that will make you and your teams’ jobs easier is how user-friendly and how well-designed the operating console is. This can save a lot of time and increase the efficiency of your team if chosen correctly.
  • Choose a diagnostic work station that has high-quality screens as well as one that can display many clear images simultaneously.
  • Confirm that you can have access to all modalities and existing programs in the system.

When you are finally ready to buy an MRI machine, those points act as a guiding factor to ensure that you get the best machine possible for your company. If you need any additional assistance and have questions about the above, please do not hesitate to contact us. All our representatives are trained and available 24/7 to answer your questions.

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