CT Scanner Buyers Guide: Slice Counts and Pricing

AUTHOR: Jeff Hough January 21, 2019

CT Scanner Buyers Guide: Slice Counts and Pricing

Are you looking to purchase a CT Scanner? If the answer is yes, are you considering a CT scanner with the most advanced technologies available or a machine that delivers the most value to your practice? Whatever your answer may be, it helps to know your options and we are here to help find the right machine to fit your clinical and financial requirements.

Determining your clinical requirements is the first, and often most important, step in narrowing down the right scanner. We’re all excited and tempted to purchase the most advanced unit, however the best investment is made by matching the CT to the facility’s requirements. As we highlight below, the price difference between a CT scanner ideal for routine scans may be hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a premium machine designed for specialty procedures. The healthcare experts have broken down the basics you need while consider a new CT scanner.

Slice Count

More slices equal a better CT scanner, right? From a marketing stand point, slice count is a simple metric to compare two scanners. In practice "better” is subject to utilization and if the scanner produces a quality image for patient care. The term slice count refers to the number of cross-sectional images acquired with each rotation of the CT’s gantry. Advantages of a machine with a higher slice count include: reduced scan times, lower radiation dosages, thinner slices for more detailed images, and capabilities for advanced scans to be performed such as cardiac studies. The trade-off is a higher price tag and no change in clinical outcome for routine studies. For many facilities, a lower slice count, and a lower price tag, is the best value for the studies they are performing.

So How Much Does a CT Scanner Cost?

We breakdown CT prices for scanners with 16-slices, 64-slices, 128-slices, and 256-slices. The price ranges are based on new and refurbished existing scanners across the major manufacturers including: GE, Siemens, Toshiba, and Philips.

16-slice CT Scanners:

The most common scanner is the 16-slice CT scanner. These units are ideal for general studies and moderate patient volumes.

The cost of new and refurbished 16-slice CT scanners are:
  • New 16-slice costs between $285,000-$360,000
  • Refurbished 16-slice costs between $90,000-$205,000
Popular 16-slice models include:

64-slice CT Scanners:

The 64-slice CT scanner is standard for hospitals, health systems, and imaging centers. Advanced studies, such as cardiac, can be performed due to the reduced scan times and advanced technology. The speed and accuracy that comes with a 64-slice scanner reduces scan times and is suited for practices with moderate to high patient volumes.

The cost of new and refurbished 64-slice CT scanners are:
  • New 64-slice cost between $500,000-$700,000
  • Refurbished 64-slice cost between $175,000-$390,000
Popular 64-slice models include:

128+ Slice CT Scanners:

Premium scanners with 128, 256, 320+ slices, are most commonly found supporting specialty practices and where patient volumes are high. These scanners are designed to produce crisp images of any organ and generally feature specialty software packages.

The cost of new and refurbished premium CT scanners are:
  • New 128-slice cost between $675,000-$1,000,000
  • Refurbished 128-slice cost between $225,000-$650,000
  • New 256+ slice / dual energy scanners cost between $1,350,000-$2,100,000
Popular 128 + slice models include:
  • GE Optima 660
  • GE Revolution CT: ES
  • GE Revolution CT: EX
  • Siemens Somatom Drive
  • Siemens Somatom Edge
  • Siemens Somatom Force

Software and Hardware Features:

CT scanners are easily categorized by slice count but their capabilities are tied to a combination of hardware and software. These features can have a significant impact on the price of a machine. For example, a cardiac software suite can between $35,000 - $100,000, whereas the lung application may result in an extra $15,500-$35,000. This reinforces the importance of addressing your clinical requirements and the type of studies your facility will be performing before making a purchase.

Complementing the detector is the x-ray tube. This is the energy source used to create the image. Depending on manufacturer and model, there may be multiple tube options. These include maximum power output, bearing style, and life expectancy. Specific to refurbished scanners, tubes with a lower usage generally hold more value than a high usage tube. The price of an x-ray tube can cost between $40,000 - $200,000.

Service and Support:

The price of a CT scanner is only a portion of total cost of ownership. Maintenance, electricity, site planning, and operation costs are other components. With a new CT scanner, a 1-year parts & labor warranty is built into the cost. With used and refurbished equipment, service is treated as an additional item. A multi-vendor, OEM service, or Independent Service Provider (ISO) contract can be used. As a benchmark, a full parts & labor service contract through the OEM is typically 10%-14% of the purchase price. Multi-vendor and ISO contracts can reduce that cost by 20%-30%. Additional savings are possible with parts only, or Time & Material contracts. While there are multiple options available, Meridian Leasing is here to help you make the best choice.

This guide should be used as an overview to understanding the different factors that go into the price of a CT machine. The price ranges listed above are averages derived from the current market of the top manufacturers. Your purchase price will depend on the OEM you choose and which scanners are available at the time. Call +1 (888) 255-5320 or send an email to sales@meridianleasing.com for product and price related details or to speak with a medical equipment specialist. If you have a specific model in mind, contact us to request a customized quote.

Jeff Hough

Jeff Hough
Program Manager, Healthcare
Meridian Leasing

Meridian SELECT Certified Refurbished Equipment comes with the confidence of knowing that you don't have to sacrifice quality and performance for price.

“We have someone who understands the complexity of the health care system’s payment model and how we can work together to ensure that we're successful financially. There's too much at risk for us to settle for less and that's why we're excited to work with Meridian.”

Karen Wyble

CEO, St. Martin Hospital

Karen Wyble
Karen Wyble

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