Computed tomography (CT) scanners produce high-resolution images to diagnose patients quickly. CT parts are complex, so these machines require a considerable investment. If you’re buying a scanner, you should consider the costs and benefits of different scanners. Your needs will help you determine what to look for in a scanner. Here are things you could consider.
- Image Quality – Higher quality images make it easier to find issues and diagnose patients. The reverse is true—low-quality images could be difficult to read, and it is easy to miss problems on them. Slice number, detector coverage, spatial resolution, and other factors contribute to image quality. For example, if your facility performs cardiac scans, you need to maintain your workflow while capturing high-quality images. So, a higher slice count is better.
- Patient Safety – A newer scanner can take better images with smaller doses of radiation. They do this because they have more efficient detectors. These scanners also have iterative reconstructive software to improve image quality while lowering the dose.
- Patient Volume – Facilities with high patient volume need a scanner with a wider area detector. Area coverage varies even between scanners with the same number of slices. If you choose a system with a wide detector area, you can perform CT scans faster.
- Budget – Beyond the cost of the machine, you need to allocate resources to the suite build-out, maintenance costs, and repairs or replacements for CT parts. Often, budget is a crucial factor in many facilities’ choice of a scanner.
- Number of Slices – “Slices” are the individual 2-D images that a scanner captures. CT scanners can capture multiple slices per rotation from different viewpoints, and combining these images creates a 3-D picture. Ideally, you want to get a scanner with a high slice count. However, budget constraints might prevent you from doing that. Buying a scanner with a low slice count doesn’t mean you’re getting a low-quality machine. You only need a higher slice count if you have many patients to scan daily. High-count scanners also reduce artifacts in cardiac imaging, making it suitable for facilities that serve many heart patients.
Standing vs. Lay Down Scanners
Patients must lay down on their backs when using standard CT scanners. The examination table they are on enters the gantry of the machine. Some scanners allow patients to stand or sit during the process—these are less expensive but not as powerful as standard scanners.
A standing CT scanner is great for capturing bone, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons. It is also suitable for showing how ankle, foot, and knee joints bear weight. These capabilities make standing scanners perfect for orthopedic clinics.
A mobile scanner is a good alternative for facilities with multiple departments in need of scanning services. These CT scanners stay in trailers parked outside buildings. It is also possible to rent instead of purchase a mobile CT scanner—this is a great short-term option. Renting for years on end, though, will add up to more expenses over time than if you bought and installed a scanner instead.
When you have a limited budget but need an in-house scanner, you can purchase a refurbished machine. Refurbished CT scanners that follow ISO 13485 certified QA procedures have a lengthy process to ensure they are in excellent working condition. ISO-certified refurbishing involves inspecting, repairing, cleaning, and replacing every component.
With a refurbished system, you will also get the same type of warranty as a new machine, and it will be affordable. The only downside to getting a refurbished scanner is that all units you’ll find will likely be at least a few years old.
You have many things to consider when purchasing a CT scanner. Besides your facility’s needs, you have to factor in your budget, the number of patients that need imaging services, and the cost of maintaining a scanner over time.
Get CT parts and refurbished CT scanners for your facility from DirectMed Parts and Service. We are ISO 13485:2016 certified and follow the strictest guidelines to ensure that our clients get the best CT parts and scanners. Get a quote or contact us today for inquiries!