When your practice or facility operates CT scanning equipment, there are maintenance and upkeep costs associated with machine operation, no matter the type. One maintenance factor is the replacement of your x-ray tube, which is inevitable, no matter how well you maintain your imaging equipment.
The x-ray tube is the source of the x-rays that help create the images from a CT scan. They also produce heat as a byproduct, and like other pieces of mechanical equipment, become worn and sometimes damaged over time. If you’re operating the Philips CT Brilliance 16, 40 or 64 slice systems, the MRC 600 or MRC 800 are your best options for x-ray tube replacements.
Whether you decide to buy new, used, or refurbish, costs can vary widely. The price of your MRC 600 or MRC 800 depends mostly on the life expectancy of the product. Used MRC 600 tubes can cost between $35,000 and $60,000 on average. Used MRC 800 tubes are about $50,000 to $80,000 on average. New tubes can cost considerably more.
Refurbishment is also sometimes an option, depending upon the type of damage or wear your x-ray tube has sustained, and how long you hope to continue use. Sometimes superficial cracks and leaks can be repaired and the oil can be replaced. This can be a more cost-effective replacement option, especially if you require low to moderate CT imaging use.
The lifespan of an x-ray tube is often described in “scan seconds,” which describe the number of seconds a tube is powered and scanning a patient for imaging. MRC tubes typically last between 825,000 and 1,500,000 scan seconds, which is very high in comparison to most other x-ray tubes. This translates to roughly 5-8 additional years of use from your imaging equipment, based on moderate average use.
Like many other mechanical parts, this is not a definitive description of lifespan. Sometimes x-ray tubes can last considerably longer than the expected lifespan, and sometimes not as long. Much of this depends on the proper maintenance and operation of the CT imaging equipment, including properly cleaning the room that houses the equipment, and consulting the operator’s manual before use. It is also important to allow only trained professionals to operate the equipment.