MRI Machine Valuations: The Most Important Questions to Answer

Many of the MRI machine valuation calls we receive are from people who have never had to try to sell a used MRI machine before. In most cases,  these callers are folks who have another job to do and don’t have time to answer 50 questions about the machine.

If this sounds like you, and you'd just just like to know the approximate value of your MRI, there are really only 6 questions that matter. If you can answer the following, you've already taken the first step to making your sale.

Six Questions to Determine Your MRI Value


What Make, Model, & Year?

This one is a given. Anyone who might be buying your MRI system needs to know who made it, which model it is, and how old it is. If your system is a bit on the older side, don't worry; the answers to the other questions often have more to do with value than a simple date of manufacture.

What Is the Magnet Type?

Most of the time the make, model, and year will tell a buyer the magnet type. If not, a picture can also do the trick. It’s only in rare cases (an upgraded system, perhaps, or much older systems) that we need more information. This is often a serial number or a snapshot of the information plate that’s affixed directly to the magnet. 

What Type of Gradients Does the Unit Have? 

Gradients (smaller magnets placed inside the bore of the MRI) come in several different configurations. We typically ask for the gradient amplitude, which is measured in millitesla per meter (mT/m), as well as the slew rate, which is measured in millitesla per meter per microsecond (mT/m/msec). In general, higher slew rates result in faster image acquisition and thinner “slices,” making a sharper image. This bodes well for your system’s value.

Slight nuances and creative names from the manufacturers can make it a bit tricky to find what the system really is. So, if you have a Siemens we need to know if it’s Turbo, Ultra, Sprint, or Quantum. With GE: Smartspeed, HiSpeed, or Echospeed. For a Philips: Omni, Power, Master, Pulsar, or Nova. Those names will be all we need to know.

What Is the System Software Level?

Software is critical to any MRI system. Without it, all that acquisition data can’t be turned into an image, techs can’t initiate pulse sequences, and images can’t be processed (among other things). All MRIs come with a set of software options, some “standard” and some tailored specifically to the types of studies they’ll be performing. These are nice to know, and if you have the list of enabled options please include it. However, the system operating software version is what a buyer really needs to value your MRI.

GE systems range from 8.3 to 25.0. Philips are typically 2.6 or higher for the Achieva series and from 7.0 to 11.0 for Interas. Siemens begins with “VA” for Symphonies and “VB” for Avantos and Esprees. If you don’t know the software level, contact us. We can help find it.

How Many RF Channels Does the System Have?

In an MRI, the RF receiver channels collect the signal from the MRI coils to produce an image.  The more receiver channels a system has, the more “ears” area listening for the signal and the sharper the image will be. These days, based on what’s currently on the market (and depending on the manufacturer) a typical MRI system will have 8, 16, 18, 24, 32, 48, or 64 channels. 

Which Coils Come with the System?

Finally, no MRI is complete without a full array of surface coils. A typical set consists of head, neck, spine, body (usually several sizes), and extremity. There are many others that can be included from specialized cardiac coils, to breast coils, to large peripheral angio coils for vascular studies. We need the full list and which ones are “multi-channel” (4, 8, 16, 32, etc.). This is very important and can swing the value of your MRI. The names of the coils are typically listed right on the tag. If you don’t know for sure, just send us a picture.

The Takeaway

That’s all a buyer typically needs to value your MRI system. At Block Imaging, we do this all the time, so we can give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. If you’re valuing for insurance, financing, or even simple curiosity, we’re happy to help. 

If you are interested in selling, we can tell you one of the following based on your answers to the questions above:

  • Yes, we’ll buy it, pending a quick inspection and confirmation of spec.
  • We’re interested but need a little time to market the system to our customers.
  • We’re not interested at this time but if you need assistance removing it our logistics team can get you a quote.

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Steve Rentz

Steve Rentz is the Product Manager for MRI Scanners at Block Imaging. Steve's goal is to earn each customer's trust and business by specifically addressing the needs of their unique project. When Steve is not helping customers with their MRI needs, he enjoys running, swimming, and woodworking.