If you are about to jump into the market for your first PET/CT scanner, you are also about to step headlong into a veritable sea of options, accessories, and price points. Before you get started, there are a few questions you should have at least tentative answers to. We originally posted these PET/CT buying questions questions in 2015 and, in the time since, have continued to use them in guiding buyers to their best equipment fit.
If the search for your next PET/CT solution seems overwhelming, answering these three questions will get you started in the right direction.
Which PET/CT do I need?
Determining an answer to this question will come down to a number of considerations like slice counts, cooling systems, physician brand preference, and what kinds of studies you will most likely be performing. Having a careful plan for how you intend to use your PET/CT will remove a number of systems from the running once you begin shopping in earnest. For example: if you have a modest budget but need Time of Flight and will be doing oncology studies, the Philips Gemini TF is a strong contender. If, however, your primary use is cardiology, a GE Discovery ST or STE or a Siemens Biograph are top options.
How do I know I'm getting a good system?
If this will also be your first purchase on the used market, you should know in advance that, like most used products, some PET/CTs are cared for by their previous owners better than others. To help you understand how a prospective system has been maintained, be prepared to ask for documentation like inspection reports, pictures, or refurbishment reports. You can also prepare by acquainting yourself with a PET/CT field engineer who can perform an inspection on any system that becomes a serious prospect.
How much will the system cost?
Having a budget in mind is important to narrowing the options down and easing the decision-making process. A range is helpful to have- as in house shopping- but if your budget is $300k, you won't want to waste time looking at $700k PET/CT systems.
Keep in mind though; the price of the PET/CT system itself is far from the only cost involved in getting a PET/CT up and running in your facility. building some preliminary expectations for what your total budget will be may play a hand in your approach to finding a system.
You may not actually enter the PET/CT market with your final answers in mind, but by considering these three major facets of the purchasing process in advance you can point yourself in the right direction and save the time and trouble of looking at the wrong kind of equipment.
If you'd like to explore these questions in further detail and learn more about what follows, you can also download our free PET/CT Buyer's Guide. Inside you'll find tips on what to look for and what to avoid while shopping around for the best PET/CT for your facility.