Top 5 Most Expensive Medical Devices

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Medical equipment comes in all shapes, sizes and costs, from hand-held lasers to imaging machines that can fill a small room. It’s no surprise that the larger the device and more sophisticated its computer program, the more expensive the medical device may be. Currently, more than 8,000 U.S. companies manufacture medical devices like CAT scans, MRIs and cancer-fighting particle accelerators. These are some of the largest and most expensive medical devices on the market today.

5 3-D Mammography Machines

The next generation of mammography screening uses three-dimensional imaging instead of the standard, flat two-dimensional screening. Called breast tomosynthesis, the 3-D machines and their software set medical facilities back about $760,000. Only 300 have been sold in the U.S. The 3-D imaging is used in addition to regular mammography to up the chances of detecting breast cancer, especially in women with dense breast tissue.

4 Robot Surgical Machines

Robotic surgeons may be expensive purchases, topping out around $2.3 million, but they lower health care costs for the rest of us. Less invasive than conventional surgery, robotic surgeons run less risk of damaging tissue and organs. This leads to faster healing and recovery times, reducing the length of hospital stays—money which stays in the patient’s pocket.

3 Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRIs use high field and very high field magnets for patient imaging. The superconducting magnetic systems within each machine make up about one-third of the total $2.3 million cost. “Gold standard” machines run a bit less at just over $1 million. The most common MRI scans are for brain, head, neck, spine and extremity imaging. MRIs may be closed or open for the larger or claustrophobic patient. The procedure takes an average of 30 minutes with no radiation risk.

2 CAT Scanners

CAT scan machines may look like giant doughnuts, but they are sophisticated digital imaging medical devices costing up to $2.7 million. Computer Axial Tomography, also known as CT, delivers images or “slices” of organs—up to 150 images per second with some high-end machines. Much faster than an MRI, CTs use radiation and you’re usually in and out within five minutes.

1 Particle Accelerators

Critics aren’t sure that the $100-plus million price tag for a particle accelerator will be cost-effective in the end, as technology continues to drive toward lowering the cost of proton therapy to treat cancerous tumors. Proton therapy delivers higher doses of radiation more precisely than traditional chemotherapy, making it appealing to patients with certain rare and hard-to-treat cancers.
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