“You can’t always get what you want...” sang the Rolling Stones (quick… what year/what album?) and although they probably weren’t talking about used MRI scanners, it certainly holds true in this industry. At this time, there is no shortage of high-quality, late-model pre-owned imaging equipment available throughout the world. If you do some proper due-diligence you can save a lot of money, and in many cases a lot of time by capitalizing on these opportunities. But you can also WASTE a lot of time trying to find systems that are either not plentiful on the market yet, or in such demand that they move instantly and at inflated prices.
Here are some examples of rare used MRIs and some viable alternatives to them if you just don’t have the time (or the money) to keep digging. This is one person’s opinion of course, but as someone who deals in the secondary MRI Market every day, this is how I see it! It goes without saying, if YOU have one of these systems, and are considering selling it, give us a call because the time to sell your used MRI is now (they won’t be rare forever).
Number 5: GE Discovery 750W 3T
Substitute: GE HDXT 16-channel (or Toshiba Vantage)
The novelty and sheer Tesla strength of the GE Discovery 750W alone are enough to make it a desirable system. Unfortunately, they aren't very common yet, and they tend to move quickly. If you're not one of the lucky few, you could substitute a GE Excite HDXT 16 channel. At 1.5T, this system doesn't approach the strength of the Discovery. However,1.5T is plenty of strength for the majority of MRI scans.
If it's the wider bore of the Discovery that's enticing you, consider a Toshiba Vantage. It has a similar opening size but it far easier to find from used sources.
Number 4: Hitachi Airis II
Substitute: Hitachi Airis Elite
The Airis II is kind of a disappearing breed nowadays. In the US market, many of them have already been replaced and are currently enjoying a second life overseas. Believe it or not, a more readily available system would be the Hitachi Airis Elite. Overall, it’s a better unit though a bit more expensive. Read a comparison here.
Number 3: Siemens Espree
Substitute: Siemens Avanto
Esprees still haven’t hit the secondary market in a big way but are still highly-prized and hard to find. The Siemens Avanto is easier to snag on the secondary market, has a similar interface, and (although it doesn't have the 70cm bore like the Espree) has the same field of view. You also still get the 8 or 18-channel coil technology.
Number 2: Siemens Essenza
Substitute: GE Excite HDe
Siemens originally marketed the Essenza as a lower-priced, "economy" option and it has become quite popular worldwide (especially outside the USA). As a result, it isn’t all that easy to find one for a good price. A good alternative would be the GE EXCITE HDe. The HDe was marketed in much the same way by GE and has a smaller, one-cabinet footprint that still offers 8-channel capability.
Number 1: Toshiba Titan 1.5T
Substitute: Toshiba Vantage Atlas
The Titan is a very nice wide-bore unit from Toshiba. At 71cm, the Titan has the largest bore on the market (by 1cm). If you can take a newer Toshiba Vantage Atlas you won’t have quite as wide a bore (65cm vs. 71cm) but will still have the multi-channel coil technology of the Titan. You can use this one for a few years while you wait for some wider availability for the Titans
By all means check with multinational pre-owned/refurbished equipment dealers (like Block Imaging) to see what’s out there. And if your timing is right (with a little luck) you may very well get what you want! But if its just not out there, it is 100% true that if you try sometimes… you might find… you’ll get what you need!!
Written by Steve Rentz
Steve Rentz is the Product Manager for MRI Scanners at Block Imaging. He is also a husband, father of 3, triathlete, woodworker, and barbecue master. Steve’s goal is to earn each customer’s trust and business by specifically addressing the needs of their unique project.