The Cost Breakdown of an MRI Machine Purchase and Set Up

The Cost Breakdown of an MRI Machine Purchase and Set Up

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an imaging method that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to diagnose abnormalities in the body’s internal organs and tissues. MRI machines use alternating magnetic fields to display 2D and 3D images of various parts of the body instead of using harmful ionizing radiations. Nowadays, MRI machines have become integral radiology equipment for most healthcare providers.

However, the cost associated with the purchase and installation of an MRI is a big topic to discuss. In this article, let us see the various costs involved to buy and set up an MRI scanner.

Various Components that Attribute to the Overall Cost of an MRI Machine:

Major components of an MRI Machine are the main magnet, gradient coil and the radio frequency transmitter/receiver coils and channels and the computer/monitor.

  • Main Magnet – The quality of MRI images depends on magnetic field strengths which are measured by the unit Tesla (T). The type of magnets installed determine this strength. This magnet is the most expensive part of the MRI. 

MRIs strength range from as low as 0.2T with the use of resistive and permanent magnets to strong 4T and above with the use of superconducting magnets. The higher the magnet’s field strength, the higher the cost.

Below is the average cost of an MRI machine based on field strength

Magnetic Field Strength (in Tesla)Average Price Range
Extremity open MRI 0.2 T40,000$ to 110,000$
Full body low field MRI 0.25T to 0.3T150,000$ to 230,000$
Low field powerful full body 0.3T to 0.4T250,000$ to 420,000$
High field 1.5T (Year of Manufacture: before 2006)150,000$ to 500,000$
High field 1.5T (Year of Manufacture: after 2008)300,000$ to $1.5 Million
State-of-the-art 3T machines$1.2 Million to $3 Million. Extreme clarity 3T machines can go up to $6 Million.

Recently a study in the year 2020 by the University of Sydney has also identified a low-field 0.06T MRI machine that costs between 50,000$ and 100,000$.

  • Gradient, RF Coils and channels – The image quality of an MRI is determined by the gradient strength and the type of coils used. Coils with more channels (through which the radio frequency signals are received) create high-quality scans.

Coils can include 4, 6, 8, 16, 32 or more channels based on the requirement. More number of channels means much cost.

  • Computer/Monitor – The MRI Scanner and its activities are controlled by a computer which transmits and control the signals. Then finally the images are displayed on a monitor. The software used to control the MRI scanning is also important. While setting up an MRI, this should be taken into account.

Additional Costs Associated:

Following are the additional costs involved in the purchase:

  • The rent and set up of Hospital or Facility space where the MRI is installed. RF Shielding is an important aspect that makes sure that the scanning doesn’t interfere with other signals or other scanners in the facility. So, extra preparation has to be done in case it is not already done. This increases the overall price.
  • MRI Cooling system with Helium. Chillers are important to keep your MRI cool and to perform well for a long time.
  • Power – Heavy radiology equipment like an MRI scanner should be operated in a 3-Phase environment. Energy usage of a scanner can cost up to $3000 per month, of course, it varies according to the locality and the number of scans performed.
  • Scanner bore – The size and design of the MRI Gantry (which is the fixed scanning bore) also determines the comfort of the patient and the cost of an MRI. Wide-bore MRIs cost extra.
  • Conversion and logistics cost which is the cost of transportation of raw materials and the machine.
  • Installation cost includes actual set up, providing guidelines and technician fees. Approximately cost up to $75,000.
  • Entertainment set up – Some health care centers also install entertainment like music or TV system along with high-end MRI machines to provide comfort to claustrophobic patients. This may add up to the overall price.
  • Other accessories like Ventilators, monitors, image printers.
  • Maintenance and service costs can range between $2000 to $10,000 per month.

Summary of Cost:

MRI machine price is determined mainly by the field strength, the year of manufacture and the brand. Notable MRI manufacturers are Esaote, GE, Philips, Siemens, Toshiba, Hitachi. New Standard 1.5T MRIs can range between $150,000 to $1.2 Million whereas a standard high-field 3T can cost up to $3 Million.

When compared to the new MRI scanners, used MRIs are 50% to 80% lower in prices and OEM refurbished products are 30% to 40% lesser.

MRI Set Up:

Setting up an MRI Machine in a facility involves:

  • Inspection of the site where the MRI will be installed. This is to check whether the facility is eligible to operate an MRI.
  • De-installation – Separation and packing of the individual parts from the original manufacturing site or second-hand vendors.
  • Transportation
  • Site preparation like where the machine will be set up, RF shielding, power control, removing ferrous materials.
  • Actual Installation
  • Knowledge transfer and providing guidelines to the hospital operators to efficiently and carefully handle the MRI.
  • Maintenance and Support.

Why Amber Diagnostics?

With over 25 years of experience selling quality radiology equipment to facilities across the world, Amber Diagnostics provides high-quality refurbished MRI machines of brands such as GE, Philips, Hitachi, Esaote, etc. They are transparent with the buyers about all the costs involved and make sure that the customers get good returns with the purchase. They have an expert warehouse and technical team who carefully handle the parts and set up the device with at most care. Amber offers excellent rates on maintenance and service.