A computerized tomography (CT) scan takes a series of x-rays from different angles around your body and uses a computer to process them and create cross-sectional images or slices of the soft tissues, bones, and blood vessels inside your body. They provide more information and detailed images than regular x-rays do. The CT scanner is the machine that takes the images and processes them into slices.
CT scans have a number of uses, making them well-suited to examine people who have internal injuries or have suffered other types of trauma. You can use a CT scan to visualize nearly every part of the body, in order to diagnose disease or injury, or plan medical treatments that include surgery.
Using CT scanners helps to reduce the need for invasive procedures because the imaging equipment allows a detailed glimpse into the body without needing to resort to surgery.
Types of CT Scanners & Their Uses
A single slice CT scanner can acquire one image per rotation. A scanner with more slices takes a CT scan much faster. Multi-slice scanners make it easier to examine small children or weak elderly patients who cannot lie still for long. Though multiple slice CT machines have become the industry norm, the single slice machine remains a useful component and is expected to be around for quite some time.
2, 4, 6, or 8 Slice
These scanners are whole-body scanners that scan routine 0.8 to 0.5-second full 360-degree rotation scans while acquiring multiple slices in each single rotation. These models are ideal for mid to high volume locations because they will provide fast scanning and high image quality.
A 16-slice CT scanner is ideal for performing a wide variety of sophisticated and complex imaging procedures. This system is capable of providing full organ coverage with high-resolution imaging. However, it is not adequate for detailed cardiac analysis.
32 to 40 slice
32 to 40-slice CT scanners offer shorter examination times than 16 slices and have a reduced likelihood of motion artifacts.
A 64-slice scanner has significantly improved CT angiography and is recommended for cardiac studies performed either before or after a heart attack. Both the speed and sensitivity of these scanners allow doctors to see how well the heart is contracting while viewing the walls of the arteries, as well as observe tiny vessels and arterial branches. These machines are capable of producing an exceptionally sharp image of even the finest details, which significantly reduces scan time.
Premium scanners with 128 slices or more are typically found in specialty practices with high patient volumes. These scanners are designed to produce high-quality images of any organ and typically come with specialty software packages.
CT scanners can also be mobile, which is useful for many situations. If your CT Suite is under renovation and repair, it’s possible to rent a mobile CT. If you have a lower patient volume at multiple locations, you could transport a CT scanner for a specific amount of time to each location as needed instead of buying multiple CT scanners.
Average CT Scanner Cost
The average cost of a CT system varies widely based on a number of factors such as manufacturer, the number of slices, the speed of image reconstruction, and the included software. Top manufacturers include Toshiba, Siemens, and Philips.
New CT Scanner
- 16-slice: $285,000 to $360,000
- 64-slice: $500,000 to $700,000
- 128+ slice: $675,000 to $1 million
- 256+ slice: $1.35 million to $2.1 million
Refurbished CT Scanner
- 16-slice: $90,000 to $205,000
- 64-slice: $175,000 to $390,000
- 128+ slice: $225,000 to $650,000
When choosing which CT scanner to lease, it’s not only important to think about the number of data slices but also to consider the length of coverage in one rotation. The rotation time of the tube and the detectors surrounding the patient has a direct effect on the overall scan time. Though the majority of exams do not require the smallest slice width, CT scanning systems with a higher slice count of thinner slices in a single rotation can handle the more complex exams and diverse patient populations.
Scanners that can achieve rotation times of less than 0.3 seconds are best for cardiac scanning to minimize image artifacts caused by heart motion. 0.5-second rotations are adequate for general body scanning, while one-second rotation times are good enough for head scanning.
CT scanners differ based on the speed of image reconstruction. Additional slices aren’t beneficial if the patient will be delayed by slow image reconstruction. However, buying a high-specification computer is worth it if it will be well-used. Another thing to consider is how the images will be interpreted, manipulated, and managed.
Software and hardware features can also add a significant amount of money to the price tag, ranging from $35,000 to $100,000 for a cardiac software suite, or $15,000 to $35,000 for the lung application. That’s why it’s important to be well aware of your clinical requirements in the type of studies your facility will perform before making a decision about which to acquire.
X-ray tubes are another cost to consider – ranging anywhere from $40,000 to $200,000 as an add-on cost.
Note that these costs do not include the additional fees for service and support as part of the total cost to obtain the equipment. You also need to factor in maintenance, electricity, and operational costs.
Leasing vs. Buying CT Scanners
As outlined above, buying a CT scanner requires a significant amount of upfront investment, and the high cost isn’t always feasible. Refurbished CT scanners can bring the cost down some, of course, but often not enough to produce significant savings. Repairs and maintenance aren’t included unless there’s a warranty (often a short-term expensive addition) added to the purchase, and in many cases, the warranty only covers the first year. Machinery can be hard to resell, especially if it requires significant repair to restore safe operations.
Leasing high-end laboratory equipment is an ideal option for companies looking to stretch their operating budgets out over time. Operating leases, such as those provided through Excedr’s equipment lease program, allow you to acquire expensive medical equipment for a fraction of the upfront price and give you long-term budgetary flexibility. Repair and maintenance services are also included to ensure your lab’s downtime is minimal. Payments are 100% tax-deductible, providing additional cash savings. Plus, the money you save with a leasing program allows you to reinvest more capital into your core business and operations. Contact us today to learn more about leasing a CT Scanner.