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The Cost of an MRI: What You Should Know

Posted by Vikki Harmonay on Wed, Nov 17, 2021 @ 12:11 PM

Did you know that the U.S. performs significantly more MRI and CT scans than any other country? In 2019 aloneCosts of an  MRI there were 118 MRI scans per 1,000 people, which is three times higher than Finland. In fact, some countries believe there’s “largely wasted MRI overuse” in the United States. Yet, even with the high numbers of MRI scans, the average cost of an MRI scan is $2,000.

Why so high?

The cost of an MRI scan is expensive because of the high costs to acquire, operate and maintain the MRI equipment. These costs specifically include:

  • Acquisition
  • Delivery and installation
  • Operating costs
  • Cost of spare parts
  • Energy usage
  • Maintenance
  • Repair

The cost of an MRI varies between the primary and secondary market. MRI machines have a 28% depreciation rate. Experienced buyers know the value of buying a used or refurbished MRI machine from the secondary market first. However, the MRI machine you want may not be available from the secondary market which means you have to turn to one of five companies that manufacture MRI machines.

Each manufacturer in the primary market specializes in a few magnet strengths, so you have a lot of choice once you’ve determined the magnet strength you want.

As you know, the imaging power of an MRI scanner is measured in a magnetic field strength known as Tesla. Open or low field used MRI machines usually can cost between $160,000 to $1.6 million depending on options and before inflation. 3T MRIs costing around double. The strongest MRIs measure in 7 Tesla which is new and can cost about $6.5 million and up.

Adding to the cost is the room that will house the MRI machine, known as the MRI Suite. There are a number of necessary safety features that must be built in to the MRI Suite in order to protect the individuals and equipment adjacent to the magnetic field. This also adds to the cost.

Delivery & Installation

This is a four-step process that contributes to the cost of an MRI machine: site inspection, de-installation, site planning and final installation. Federal and state regulations require site planning. These considerations include:

  • Magnetic fringe shields
  • RF shielding
  • Specified ceiling heights
  • Minimal noise levels
  • Cryogen storage
  • Adequate venting for cryogen exhaust

Operation Costs

Using an MRI machine costs money. Performing these expensive procedures cost between $90-$200. The cost depends on the kind of procedure that’s performed, the facility’s location and if there are any reimbursements available.

Energy Costs

The more powerful the MRI machine, the most energy it uses. The electricity rates for MRI machines vary between $50-$3,000 per month before inflation.

Maintenance and Repair Costs

MRI scanners don’t have a lot of moving parts so rarely will you experience extensive damage. However, as a sensitive machine it should have monthly checkups. You want to be sure that the system is working properly and the parts are clean as well. As a rule, maintenance agreements cost $2,000-$10,000 per month. The more powerful the model, the higher the cost of maintenance. While it is expensive to maintain an MRI machine, it’s better to perform regular maintenance than to have to buy a new one.

Talk To An Expert

To summarize, MRI machines are expensive and so are maintenance costs. If you buy an MRI Scanner on the secondary market, you can experience significant savings. If you’re in the market for an MRI scanner, talk to an expert at Atlantis Worldwide. By purchasing an MRI or CT Scanner that’s used or refurbished, you’ll get the performance you want for significantly less, while still enjoying great warranties.

Talk to Atlantis Worldwide today.

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Meet the author: Vikki Harmonay 

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Topics: Buying Imaging Equipment, MRI