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The Different CT Scanner Slices – Which One Do You Need – A Guide

Aug 6, 2021 | How Tos, CT

Many people tend to compare CT scanners and MRI scanners against each other. After all, they’re both quite similar machines used to take slices of pictures of our internal organs. However, there are some differences between the two machines that make each more suitable for different uses. For instance, CT scanners are far better at imaging blood vessels and bones, whereas MRI scanners are used to identify changes in soft tissue, tendons, the brain, and more.

That being said, these main differences aren’t enough to pick the right choice. Within the same category of machines, there are still different types of scanners to choose from! For instance, there are different slices for CT scanners, some in four to eight, others up to 128—and even higher.

For the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on the CT scanners and their slices to help you understand which CT scanner is the best fit for your need:


4 & 8-Slice 

For the most basic of CT scanners, you will usually be faced with a 4- or 8-slice scanner. Though the number may seem incredibly small compared to other CT scanners, these are still excellent for clinics with only a few patients who need a scan. Plus, these are the cheapest types of scanners you will find in the market—so any health service with a limited budget can generally afford one!

In other words, this affordable scanner will be the scanner of choice if time is not a factor in your diagnosis or procedures.



As an excellent choice for price-performance, many health facilities will opt for the 16-slice CT scanner. It is the go-to for clinics or departments that experience a steady amount of patients that need scanning faster than what an 8-slice scanner can provide.

In short, the 16-slice scanner offers excellent reliability and good enough speed that even urgent care centers will still use them.


32 & 40-Slice 

Going a little higher into the slice count, these 32 and 40-slice scanners are typically treated similarly to their 16-slice counterparts. The only difference here is that they are even faster and offer much more coverage per gantry rotation—meaning that the risk of motion artifacts is reduced.

You will be investing in this type of scanner if you need something better than a 16-slice scanner with a price jump that isn’t too high.



64-slice scanners are the usual scanners you will find in extensive health facilities, like hospitals and imaging centers. Because of its much higher slice count, not only is scan time reduced significantly, but it can also facilitate advanced studies thanks to the accuracy.

Note that cardiology still requires the slowing of the heartbeat rate despite the machine’s speed and accuracy. However, it is still an excellent machine for closer cardiac research.


128-Slice and higher

These 128-slice or higher CT scanners are the top-of-the-line CT scanners you will find. Up to 320 slices, these machines can provide a full-body scan in mere seconds. Thanks to its incredible speed and accuracy, specialty practices generally invest in these costly machines.

If you are running a simple clinic, there isn’t a way to justify an investment in this kind of CT scanner, unless you are a specialty practice or experience an abnormally high patient rate that requires scanning each day.



With all of that information in your hands, it is up to you to pick a suitable CT scanner for your practice. If you are looking for something that you can use in a small clinical setting with a limited number of patients, a 4, 8, or even 16-slice scanner will do perfectly. On the other hand, if you have a large volume of patients, a 34 or higher can meet your needs. Then again, if you are a specialty clinic, you may find the need for 128 or higher slice CT scanners. In other words, carefully consider your needs and compare them against the CT scanners to see if they will work!

DirectMed Parts is a trusted source of medical imaging parts and services, offering high-quality CT and MRI parts and coils as well as refurbished machines. If you are looking for CT parts or scanners in the US, get in touch with us today!




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