How Much is a CT Scanner and How to Avoid Paying Too Much

The Factors to Look for When You Ask, “How Much is a CT Scanner?”

There are few questions to ask that can produce such a wide variety of answers as, “how much is a CT scanner?” The answers to this question could result in a difference of millions of dollars. With this being the reality, knowing the factors contributing to the vast range in price is a must. 

Of even greater importance is understanding what you need to be looking for as a buyer. When a single feature can create hundreds of thousands of dollars in difference, a buyer must understand that feature is worth the investment. If it is not, that money can contribute to something else. 

In this article, we will be looking into some of the most significant factors that play into the price of a CT scanner and how you can evaluate these as a buyer. 

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How Much is a CT Scanner: The Age of the Model

As with anything, the age of what you are purchasing is going to play a role in the price. Even though this is true, it does not mean that something older is automatically inadequate for your purposes. The latest and greatest models are going to include plenty of features and abilities that might be perfect for one clinic but may not be necessary for your needs.

Judging a model is less about what it can do and much more about if it can do what you need it to. Hopefully, you won’t be wasting your time browsing the most expensive models if you already know your budget is nowhere near that price range. But, it is worth reminding that understanding your budget should be step one, and understanding your needs is step two.

Don’t be surprised if an older model can meet your needs and don’t shy away from one that will. 

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How Much is a CT Scanner: The Slice Count

With everything else being equal in two machines, slice count will have one of the most significant impacts on price. Slice count impacts scan times and required turnover between scans. Larger practices that are going to be using their scanners more frequently are going to need a higher slice count. 

Slice counts can reach as high as 320 slices in a machine. That will not be necessary for the majority of practices. In most cases, devices with a slice count of 128 are used in cardiac centers or research facilities. Still, for many standard uses, a 16-slice scanner will be appropriate for a facility looking for something with quality speed and function.

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How Much Is A CT Scanner: Buying New or Refurbished

Of course, new or refurbished devices are going to come with a significant price difference. As long as a clinic is purchasing from a reputable dealer, they should be confident that their refurbished device will perform up to its expectations. Having a refurbished machine is no reason to avoid a purchase. In many cases, there is a likelihood that it is the best way to go. 

Overall, many practices and clinics should look into refurbished machines before looking into something new. Only once it is determined that new is a requirement, one should assume refurbished will do.

With the amount of money that can be saved by avoiding the purchase of a scanner with superfluous features, the process of the search can often take the shape of trimming away excess options until finding one that fits your needs.


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When a Clinic Asks, “How Much Does A PET CT Scanner Cost . . .”

The first thing that a clinic needs to understand is this is not the first question they should be asking. When any clinic is asking, “how much does a PET CT Scanner cost?” what they should instead be asking is, “what kind of PET CT Scanner do we need?”

Ignoring the needs of a clinic and focusing only on the available budget is a mistake that will come with a steep price tag. Looking at the complete range of scanners available on the market, a clinic could find themselves spending anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars up to multi-millions. With the amount of money available for repurposing to the many needs of a clinic, a clinic wants to avoid purchasing a scanner with extra features they don’t need.

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What A Clinic Should Be Asking First

What do we need? This is the best question for a clinic to ask before beginning to look into the marketplace for available scanners. Is purchasing a refurbished scanner a viable option for us? What are the specifications that we need on a scanner? What types of scanning are we going to be doing? Is there a scanner that fulfills our needs better than anything else?

These are the questions that will lead a clinic to find the right scanner for them. When this is not the process that a clinic goes through, they are more likely to end up finding a scanner that they try to force into their budget and justify it as a necessary purchase. Such a strategy can cause problems branching out to all ends of the clinic. 

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The Sacrifice Made By Asking “How Much Does A PET CT Scanner Cost?”

It is fair to admit this is an innocent-sounding question. The reality is more brutal. If this question arises in a clinic, it is coming with a sacrifice. That sacrifice is coming from any of the places within the clinic where extra money can no longer be repurposed because of overspending. Salaries of staff members, equipment budgets, training budgets, and many other things could all suffer from a lack of attention to fulfilling the actual needs of a clinic.

The next time anybody asks a question like this, the answer should be, “why?” Why is it important to know the answer to such a vague question? The more important thing to do is to narrow the parameters of the subject and come to a place where a reasonable solution can be found. There is no malice in asking, “how much does a PET CT Scanner cost,” but there are real consequences to believing that it is the only question to ask. Beneath the surface, there is a much better question to find, and it does not take a great deal of work to get there. For the sake of any clinic, it should find its needs before it finds its scanner.

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Knowing Your Budget for PET CT Machine Cost

Deciding on an imaging device for a clinic can be a dangerous endeavor if you don’t know what you should be looking for. Having an understanding of a typical PET CT machine cost is important before immersing yourself too far in the process. If a clinic does not have a clear understanding of the functions it needs the imaging device to serve, they should not even begin the search process without first evaluating their needs more thoroughly. 

What are the functions the imaging device will need to provide? What patients will the clinic be serving? How much could these services vary? A practice cannot find an appropriate budget for the PET CT machine cost without answering these questions before all else.

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A Range of Costs for Different Machines

A clinic can expect to find a big difference in the cost of the latest models compared with older models. Also, depending on where you look, numbers could vary dramatically. The varieties of features and parts have a significant impact on the PET CT machine cost, but slice count is the most consistent indicator for price points.

A higher slice count will reduce the time needed for individual patient scans while improving resolution on images. These can be irreplaceable assets to a clinic by improving patient experience and creating an easier process in the diagnosis. With that said, it needs to be made clear that a lower slice count can be more than sufficient with a lower PET CT machine cost depending on the needs and usage of a practice. A clinic should not be going over budget for merely acquiring a higher slice count.

These are price points expected by Block Imaging for a machine including installation and a first scan warranty:

$75,000 – $100,000

  • GE 4-slice
  • Siemens 6-slice
  • Philips 16-slice 

$100,000 – $200,000

  • GE 16-slice
  • Siemens 16-slice
  • Philips 64-slice

$200,000 – $400,000

  • GE 64-slice
  • Siemens 64-slice

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Know The Need, Know The Budget

Scanners and other equipment may seem like the highest priority in spending for a clinic, and that can easily result in over-spending. Provided a clinic meets their essential needs, there is no need to spring for an extra expense in PET CT machine cost. Plenty of other things require a substantial budget, and accounting for those things before deciding on which machine to purchase is a necessity.

To neglect the hiring of staff and the training of that staff is one of the biggest mistakes a practice could make. If a clinic pours too much of the budget into equipment, this is exactly what could happen. Each clinic needs to be prepared to provide its staff with the proper training, and getting the best possible training should be a higher priority than getting a device that is superfluous to needs. The moment a clinic adds PET CT machine cost to the budget is the moment it needs to account for other necessities. 

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