MRI Machine Valuations: The 4 Most Important Questions to Answer
“I’m the lucky one they asked to outsource this MRI system”
Many MRI machine valuation calls we field are from the person who either drew the short straw or was unlucky enough to make eye contact with the department head. In MOST cases it’s someone who has another job to do and doesn’t have time to answer 50 questions about the machine. If you have that many answers, great! But, if you just want to know the approximate value of your MRI it’s only 4 questions, assuming that you know the year of manufacture, the make, and the model (I won’t count that as a question).
What Is the Magnet Type?
Most of the time the make, model, and year will tell us the magnet type. If not, a picture can also do the trick. It’s only in rare cases (upgrades perhaps, or older systems) that we need more information, like a serial number or a snapshot of the information plate that’s affixed directly to the magnet.
What Type of Gradients Does the Unit Have?
Gradients (smaller magnets placed inside the bore of the MRI) come in several different configurations. We typically ask for the gradient amplitude which is measured in millitesla per meter (mT/m) as well as the slew rate which is measured in millitesla per meter per microsecond (mT/m/msec). In general, higher slew rates result in faster image acquisition and thinner “slices,” making a sharper image. This bodes well for your system’s value.
Slight nuances and creative names to market capabilities can make this a bit tricky to find what the system really is! So, if you have a Siemens we need to know if it’s Turbo, Ultra, Sprint, or Quantum. With GE: Smartspeed, HiSpeed, or Echospeed. For a Philips: Omni, Power, Master, Pulsar, or Nova. Those names will be all we need to know.
System Software Level
Software is critical to any MRI system. Without it, all that acquisition data can’t be turned into an image, techs can’t initiate pulse sequences, and images can’t be processed (among other things). All MRIs come with a set of software options, some “standard” and some tailored specifically to the types of studies they’ll be performing. These are nice to know and if you have the list of enabled options please include it. However, the system operating software version is what we really need to value the MRI. GE systems range from 8.3 to 15.0. Philips are typically 2.6 or higher for the Achieva series and from 7.0 to 11.0 for Interas. Siemens begins with “VA” for Symphonies and “VB” for Avantos and Esprees. If you don’t know the software level, contact us. We can help find it.
List of Coils
Finally, no MRI is complete without a full array of surface coils. A typical set consists of head, neck, spine, body (usually several sizes), and extremity. There are many others that can be included from specialized cardiac coils, to breast coils, to large peripheral angio coils for vascular studies. We need the full list and which ones are “multi-channel” (4, 8, 16, 32, etc.). This is very important and can swing the value of your MRI. The names of the coils are typically listed right on the tag. If you don’t know for sure, just send us a picture.
That’s all we need to value your MRI system and, since we do this all the time, we can give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. If you’re valuing for insurance, financing, or simple curiosity, we’re happy to help.
If you are interested in selling, we can tell you one of the following based on your answers to the questions above:
- Yes, we’ll buy it, pending a quick inspection and confirmation of spec.
- We’re interested but need a little time to market the system to our customers.
- We’re not interested at this time but if you need assistance removing it our logistics team can get you a quote.
So, unlucky person, take heart – If you were just stretching when they asked for volunteers to outsource the MRI, we're here to make part of your job a little easier today.
Meet the author: Steve Rentz
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