Buying a Vascular Ultrasound Machine: Prices, Features, and Advice
Vascular ultrasound provides a non-invasive way to examine blood circulation and evaluate arteries and veins. Doctors choose it to avoid anesthesia, needles, radiation, and contrast dyes. This modality works for evaluating veins and arteries in nearly any part of the body, including the abdomen, arms, legs, and neck.Applications of a Vascular Ultrasound Machine
Doctors examine blood flow to help detect disease. Irregularities indicate not only the presence of disease, but also its location and severity. Vascular ultrasound helps find blood clots in the arms and legs, as well as narrowing of the arteries.
This technology helps protect the patient from kidney damage, a possibility with other diagnostic options, such as contrast dye and radiation. It also offers greater portability than imaging performed via CAT scan or MRI, if the clinic or hospital uses a portable vascular ultrasound machine.
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Vascular ultrasound technology continues to grow, allowing for even broader application. Today, doctors can diagnose abdominal aortic aneurysms and other abdominal disorders with it. Medical professionals also rely on it for follow-up testing after vascular procedures.
What to Consider before Buying
Before making a major purchase like an ultrasound unit, take the time to consider a number of factors, including your budget, how the machine will be used as well as who will use it, and what happens after you complete the purchase.
What is your budget?
When budgeting for the cost of a vascular ultrasound machine, consider its full cost. In addition to the price of the machine itself, include the cost of the service contract and the cost of accessories and commonly replaced parts. One thing that's easy to forget is the cost of training your ultrasound techs. Your purchase price typically includes basic training, but not always. Additionally, your team may require more in-depth training, especially if you're upgrading to newer technology.
If the manufacturer you prefer seems to be priced out of your budget, consider purchasing one of their discounted models, or a refurbished one. Look online for reviews by verified purchasers, or techs who have used the model. These are the most valuable reviews for imparting a true picture of the machine's quality.
What features do you need?
Your best resource for answering this question is the people who use the machine: your ultrasound technicians. Find out which features they feel are necessary for them to do their job efficiently, which features they'd like to have but aren't vital, and which ones they never use.
What happens after you sign?
For this, pay attention to the warranty and service contract in particular. How long is the warranty, and what does it cover? What does your maintenance agreement cover? Does it renew automatically each year, and is that something you want to happen? Do you have phone access to technical support? Are there cancellation fees? Ask plenty of questions during the negotiation phase, and ask for better terms than the vendor initially offers. Once you sign the contract, negotiation ends.
Replacement parts: Are they hard to find?
Replacement parts are a natural part of any ultrasound unit. The most common parts you replace are the casters, keyboards, keys and buttons, monitor, power supplies, and upper control panel. Knowing this, check the availability and pricing to replace these parts for your chosen vascular ultrasound machine. Availability, in particular, is important.
Take it for a test drive
Another area where you want the input of one of your ultrasound techs. Ask your most experienced tech to join you in taking your chosen model for a test drive. Just like buying a car, this lets you know how it handles and performs. You want a unit with intuitive controls and features.
Average Costs of a Vascular Ultrasound Machine
Like most major purchases, pricing on a vascular ultrasound machine varies widely from model to model. You can find models for under $10,000 or over $100,000. On average, though, you're looking at the $20,000 to $40,000 neighborhood.
GE models range that broadly just within their refurbished selections. Their Logiq 9 runs right around $20,000 while their Voluson E8 hits the $45,000 mark. You can find a used Acuson Cypress cardiovascular model from around $13,500, or a refurbished Philips iE33 for $35,000. In short, whatever your budget, there's likely a model for you.
In addition to the unit itself, you have a variety of additional costs, starting with actually receiving the machine. Delivery typically runs around $300. During negotiation, you'll learn the exact cost of your maintenance contract, but a good estimate is 15 percent of the purchase price. A black and white printer costs around $1,000, while color or thermal printers may top $3,000. Finally, the machine likely comes with an accessory pack of gel, lotion, and pads. However, these require regular replacements.