Top-notch image clarity, high patient comfort, efficient workflow; admittedly, the GE 450w 1.5T is a pretty awesome MRI scanner. Unless you're holding out for 3T technology, it probably wouldn't hurt your feelings to see one of these land on your loading dock tomorrow.
Trouble is, they're still quite new, quite pricey, and quite rare. So, when will used GE 450w magnets be available?
As a used and refurbished MRI dealer, we make a point of keeping tabs on this sort of thing. Below is our educated guess on what to expect and when to expect it.
The Good News
The first wave of 450w scanners will be coming off their 5-year leases with GE in and around the first quarter of 2015, just a few months from now. Facilities that are able to afford more regular equipment upgrade cycles will be looking to trade in and trade up and, at the tender young age of 5, a number of perfectly good 450w scanners will be going out the door.
The Not so Good News
Unfortunately, a good number of the systems coming off their leases will likely be caught in the OEM nets. GE will undoubtedly pull a good portion of these off the market by offering trade-in discounts on upgrades. On top of that, GE will still control the majority of the engineering staff qualified to work on the 450w as well as the inventory of replacement parts to repair them, further cementing them as the "first dibs" buyer of these early arrivals to the used market.
While none of the points above are guaranteed to happen, our past experience with new models entering the secondary market has seen all of them at one time or another. As of now, our best guess is that it will take another year or so for the GE 450w to begin showing up with any regularity. Anticipate ongoing scarcity for at least that long but, if you're truly interested in one, stay in touch just in case. As we said earlier, we keep tabs on these things and would be happy to keep you up-to-date.
In terms of independent service and replacement parts, you can expect a similar 12-15 month timeframe. Independent service organizations will need that time to really learn the magnet and to build up the tools and parts inventory they need to offer consistent support for the 450w.
If your facility's upgrade or acquisition needs necessitate a solution sooner than this time next year, we can help you find a system that can serve you and your patients very well until that dream 450w shows its face on the used market.