How Much Does a Used MRI Machine Cost?
Here is the punchline (the joke will come later):
Punchline: “It’s in the basement”
For those of us who deal with pre-owned MRI machines every day, there is no such thing as “too good to be true”. If it smells like a rat it almost always is and if it smokes, there’s a raging inferno behind the wall.
It's 100% true that you can get a great deal in today’s secondary market on a high quality, well cared for MRI machine – but that is only half the fun. Whether the other half is also fun depends a great deal on the situation at the site and the logistics involved.
The cost of the equipment itself is important, but that’s only part of the equation – maybe there’s a reason it is so reasonable. Here are some things to think about AFTER you’ve negotiated that great price to buy that pre-owned MRI machine...
Speed Will Get You There, But It Can Also Kill You
As mentioned in one of our other posts about 4 Basic Questions to Ask Before Buying an MRI Scanner, “If you find the system you are looking for, from a reputable and vetted company, and if you’re sure it meets your needs and can be made available in your timeframe… BUY IT! Or at very least, Lock it Down."
That being done, you’re not doing yourself any favors by hurrying through the due-diligence process. Make sure you know what you’re buying.
Have the MRI inspected – either inspect it yourself (perhaps with your tech) or hire an engineer (of course you can hire us to inspect for you). This will cost you somewhere between $1,500 - $3,000 but it is well worth the cost. Take the time to get to know your equipment, its history and performance.
Cables, Tables, Amps and Ramps
Talented engineers who can properly handle MRI’s are invaluable but they work best in their native habitat. Most specialize and are very good at what they do in their area of specialty. Find one.
If your project involves an installation at another site it is best to use the same engineer at both ends. If you don’t, the chance for finger pointing becomes huge.
Expect to spend around $10,000 for a deinstallation and allow 2-3 days to get it done right. Make sure the engineers thoroughly test the MRI prior to taking it off field (i.e. ramping it down) to make sure it is 100% functional and operating within OEM specification when they leave.
The 10,000 Pound Gorilla in the Room – Does He Belong to You?
Someone put your current MRI into the room and someone can take it out again – preferably that same someone – call them first.
The exit pathway is important and in many cases can be the biggest unexpected cost associated with an MRI purchase (or sale). Professional riggers do this every day – use one that is familiar with medical equipment.
Joke: Did you hear the one about the MRI that had to come out in little pieces?
(see the punchline at the beginning of this blog)
First floor removals and rooms adjacent to exterior walls are the norm but there are exceptions. For a “normal” removal, expect to spend approximately $10,000 - $12,000 to get it safely onto your truck! For a non standard removal… way more!
What’s Down the Road?
The previous points apply to nearly all MRI projects. What happens once it is out of the room depends upon your unique situation. Will it be traveling internationally or going down the road to another site? Will it be reinstalled or warehoused? Each one of these situations could fill another article on their own (stay tuned).
But assuming the MRI is going to be reinstalled domestically, and assuming it is a super-conductive (uses liquid helium) magnet, it will need to move quickly to avoid excessive helium “boil-off” once it is off power.
It has been said before (but worth saying again) that freight carriers should be used who are comfortable with this type of equipment. We’ve had personal experience with nervous truck drivers, venting helium, and the red valve – don’t go there. Expect to spend around $5,000-$10,000 for overland domestic transport depending on location.
Time To Fire It Up!
Before that system starts chirping away again, it must be rigged into an “MRI-ready” room (with proper dimensions to account for the magnetic field and including RF shielding, HVAC, etc.).
Most companies who perform MRI installation work will provide site planning as well. Utilize this – it can solve countless headaches. The installation of your MRI is a complicated project and involves ramping it back up to field, laying miles of cable, precision tuning, and shimming, all of which requires expertise and sensitive (and expensive) tools.
Expect to spend between $50,000 and $80,000 for a “typical” installation for a 1.5T MRI System and inquire about ongoing service costs as well.
MRI Projects are complicated and costly operations, and they typically involve many subcontractors - whether they are managed by the OEM or by an Independent organization.
Fortunately, there are companies involved in each aspect described above who do this every day. And we think it’s fun. And we like to talk about it. Block Imaging is one of those companies – give us a call and let’s discuss!
Meet the author - Steve Rentz
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