For Facilities & Offices preparing to open a new procedure room needing flouroscopy, one of the biggest question is ‘How Much Should I Spend on a C-Arm?’  This is important question since in most procedure room, the C-Arm is the biggest ticket item.  Jumping into shopping for the C-Arm doesn’t help either as you’ll be getting price range from few thousands to 200K+, leaving you potentially more confused than when you started.

So how much should I spend on a C-Arm?

Well, let’s start with old cliche phrases: ‘You get what you pay for’ – Up to certain price point, I believe this to be absolutely true.

To make this easier to understand, let’s talk about Car pricing.  When you’re in market for a car, you get a wide range too from a car that cost few hundreds to 200K+.  Just like C-Arm, up to certain point, you get what you pay for where lower end of pricing will get you 10+ years old car, spend few thousand for a used one with short warranty, 10K+ for a certified used with warranty and around 20K, you can get a new car.  And this is where it gets interesting.  Up till about 50K or so, you get different features & add-on to your car that justify the cost of the car, at least in terms of more features per dollar.  But then, you get into luxury vehicle where pricing is set not based on more features & specs, but its brand name and demand since you really won’t see much of features difference between a car that cost 50K and 100K.

C-Arm market works very similar ways.

  • On eBay or other marketplace, you can find used C-Arm that’s 20+ years old for few thousands.  Typically with alive on arrival condition and no warranty.
  • Around 20K, you can typically get 3-6 month warranty on refurbished system that’s 20+ years old.
  • From there, you can see bunch of different pricing up to about 65K where you can find 10+ year old system with 1 year warranty.
  • Some stationary anode systems that has limited power (not recommended for lateral shot) can be found in this price range as well.
  • But it won’t be until about 80-90K where you can find new system with rotating anode tube (full spec for spine procedures).
  • Up until about 150K, you’re going to find different brand’s new system with different specs & features.
  • Then above 150K, you enter the market where it’s specialized & you pay for brand more than features & specs. (or highly specialized & custom equipment)

So, How Much Should I Spend on C-Arm?

That depends on what you’re looking for and what your budget is like.  Here are short list of things I always try to remind myself when I make a big purchase.

  • Is this something I depends on for day to day operation or is this something I use as a hobby?
  • What kinds of warranty does it come with?  And how important are those warranties?
  • What is Return on Investment on my purchase?  And how does that compare with my monthly payment?
  • Lastly, what would my client think of my system?

 

Unlike few decades ago when different brand truly held different level of technology, nowadays, all manufacturers have very similar ability to produce similar quality product. Just look at TV or Cell Phone market.  I buy a phone brand called OnePlus, it’s not one of the main brand on the market and you can only order it online but it saves me about $300+ compare to Samsung or Apple and it comes with better spec.  I’m on my 3rd OnePlus phone after saying goodbye to Samsung Note 2 couple years ago, and I LOVE the value & speed I get from my phone.

 

All that said, this is Your decision and Your purchase.  So at the end of the day, you have to go with what You’re comfortable with.  But if you have any questions or want recommendation, comment below, I’d love to help!

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