Both the GE VCT 64 and the Philips Brilliance 64 are prominent models from prominent players on the 64-slice CT scanner market. Admittedly- the two systems have a lot in common, and either can serve both patient and radiologist needs well. There are, however, some factors that set apart the experiences of owning and using one over the other. So, what are those differences, and how do you choose?
Below are a few key pros, cons, differences, and similarities to think over as you consider the GE VCT 64 and Philips Brilliance 64 as options in the hunt for your next CT scanner.
What's the same?
Beyond their slice count and consequent elligibility for reimbursement of cardiac scans, the VCT and Brilliance overlap in many areas of functionality and performance. Among many other things, both systems offer:
• Solid state detectors
• 8 MHU heat capacity
• Carbon fiber table top
• 70 cm gantry aperture
• +/- 30 degree gantry tilt
• CT angio standard
• Bolus tracking standard
• Dental options
• CT fluoro options
• Radiotherapy planning table options
While there are technical differences between the VCT and the Brilliance that more discerning buyers may find compelling, the big differences that will affect all buyers, from the highly specialized to the broad-base, general user, are related to the overall cost of ownership and the ownership experience.
Overall, our customers, partners, and engineering team have reported that Brilliance 64 tubes tend to last significantly longer than VCT 64 tubes. The typical lifespan we've observed is between 600,000 and 1,000,000 scan seconds for the MRC 800 tubes used in Brilliance scanners and 300,000 and 500,000 scan seconds for the VCT. We have also seen MRC tubes last as long as 1.6 million scan seconds.
While Brilliance 64 tubes last longer, they are proprietary and cost more to purchase new from the OEM; coming in at around $193,000. VCT tubes run around $150,000 from the OEM on exchange. That's a big chunk in savings- and it goes even further as soon as you step away from OEM-only parts buying, which is currently the only option for a brand new MRC 800.
If you want a brand-new tube for a VCT, companies like Varian and Dunlee make them available for about half the price of the OEM and about 60% less than the cost of a new MRC 800 from Philips. On the secondary market, low and moderate-use VCT tube prices average 30% lower than their Philips counterparts.
If your scanner will operate in the US, it will need to be compliant with XR-29 standards to be elligible for its full reimbursement amount. In most cases, VCT 64 systems are already XR-29 compliant. Unless upgraded by a previous owner, most Brilliance 64 systems will require an XR-29 compliance upgrade be purchased from Philips.
In most cases, with age and condition being comparable, a Brilliance 64 will cost less to purchase than a VCT 64.
Ongoing costs, like service support, maintenance, and replacement parts will be much lower for the VCT 64. This is due primarily to significantly higher availability of trained service personnel, third party parts suppliers, and after-market tube options.
Both the GE VCT 64 and the Philips Brilliance 64 are quality CT scanners. The choice between the two will need to be made by taking the long view and considering not only your capital equipment budget now but also your operating budget for the next several years. Regardless of which model your needs may eventually draw you to, our team is ready to assist with your selection. Use the button below to tell us about your project and get the conversation started!
Written by Jeremy Block
Jeremy Block is the Senior Vice President of Product Solutions at Block Imaging. Between building imaging equipment deals all over the world and raising six kids in Michigan, he’s no stranger to problem solving when obstacles arise. Wherever you may be, Jeremy’s goal is to make your buying or selling experience as easy as possible.