GE 1.5T MRI scanners are among the most popular systems in the world. They're reliable, easy to service, and when maintained properly, produce high-quality images. Still, like any frequently-used machine, they are subject to wear and tear and eventual parts failure.
If you're new to GE 1.5T ownership or considering a purchase, the following are some of the most common parts failures reported to our service team. Keep them in mind to help you and your team stay ahead of equipment downtime.
Because they are subject to so much movement, your system's coils are likely to need repair at some point over the lifespan of your magnet. Depending on the severity of the damage, repairs to a coil typically range between $4,500 and $6,500. This range includes materials and repair technician labor.
If your coil is damaged beyond repair, you can see average pricing for replacement coils here.
Because of the sheer amount of power they handle, gradient amplifiers produce a lot of heat and require a lot of cooling. Running at this capacity and fluctuating in temperature like this causes your gradient components to wear down and, eventually, fail. Signs of failure include failed image sequences and entire acquisitions. Artifacts and “fuzzy” images can also be an indicator that a gradient amplifier is failing. Replacing a gradient amplifier on your 1.5T will likely cost between $10,000 and $12,000.
These problems are lumped together because they all happen in the console. Mouse or keyboard problems are usually pretty obvious (unresponsive cursor, intermittent key response, etc.) and are more of an annoyance than a major day-ruiner. Replacements can be turned around for about $100.
If the workstation begins to slow in responsiveness and overall performance when running the MR software, it may indicate a failure of the SCSI drive. Other signs include failed start-ups, “blue screens of death”, and computer freezes. If these symptoms appear, call your service provider and tell them what you suspect so that their engineer can have a new drive in hand. A new SCSI drive and the labor to format and install it average between $1,200 and $1,500.
The measure of coldhead performance is called the "recondensing margin." There should be a recommended range for this margin in your system's documentation. The metrics for this number can be found on your console. If the recondensing margin fluctuates or falls while the compressor is working properly, this could be a sign that the coldhead is nearing the end of its useful life.
Average lifespans for coldheads range from two to four years. A replacement coldhead and installation costs between $5,000 and $9,000.
Keeping up proper maintenance on your magnet and its chiller will go a long way toward keeping your GE 1.5T in top shape, but even the most well-maintained systems will still need a fresh part from time-to-time. Being mindful of the parts above will help you know what to look for as well as plan your parts budget ahead of time.
If you have a parts need now or think you might be due for one of the parts above soon, we can help with that. Contact our parts team at 877-621-2887 or request a part below.
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.