So, you installed an MRI system a few years back with the right set of coils, and you started scanning patients like crazy. Soon after, you couldn’t picture life without it. You’ve drawn stares while crooning soft songs into its bore. You’ve been spotted reading Goodnight Moon out loud in the exam room after hours. A tattoo of a gantry with a heart around it can be found on your bicep.
Then, you heard some news that was even more exciting than the prospect of spending the rest of your life with that magnetic beauty: You can improve its image quality and lower your scan times by upgrading your coils. That’s a great idea! Your system has been so good to you that it only deserves the best, right?
As much as we would all love to upgrade our MRI equipment more frequently and be on the “cutting edge” all the time, it's simply not economically or logistically practical. There are some market conditions that may affect the way you budget your upgrade plans.
Improving the image quality and scan times of your MRI is often done by upgrading to MRI coils with a higher number of channels; perhaps from 4 to 8, or 8 to 16. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as plug and play! Assuming your system is not equipped with the channels necessary to accommodate the new coil, an OEM software/hardware upgrade is required to prepare the system to interact with the more advanced coils. These upgrades from the OEMs can be very costly; often north of six-figures. In most cases, the upgrade contains proprietary information so you’ll be working with the OEM.
Once the final price on your software and hardware upgrade is settled, it's time to consider the cost of the coils you need. If you find your budget a little sapped by the upgrade, it may be worth perusing the secondary market for coils. Used and refurbished MRI coils are available for an average of 30-50% off the list price of brand-new coils. If you’re in the market for 4 or 8-channel coils, secondary dealers will be able to accommodate you very well. However, it’s important to know that the higher the channel count, the more challenging it can be to find the coils you need.
If you need more information on muti-channel MRI coils or are in need of replacements, repairs, or expansions to your current coil selection, Block Imaging is ready to help with coils from all the major MRI manufacturers.