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
A mammogram is an x-ray for the breast, commonly used to detect breast cancer.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. The US has only bought 300 of these medical devices. 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, consequently reducing the length of hospital stays. A shorter hospital stay means that patients pay less for their recovery time.
3. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI scans is a technique that uses magnetism and radio waves to create images of body structures. 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, blood vessels and bones—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
Particle accelerators can be used for the treatment of cancer and the diagnosis of various diseases. 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. Therefore making it appealing to patients with certain rare and hard-to-treat cancers.
If you found this article interesting, you may enjoy reading the Top 5 Terrifying Ancient Medical Practices as a contrast to the new technology used in medical devices.