It is true that diagnostic imaging is proving more and more significance in medical practices. A wide range of diseases are diagnosed much earlier & easier thanks to the huge advances in this field. Among the most important diagnostic imaging systems is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The technique uses powerful magnetic fields to generate highly detailed images. In fact, there are a number of diseases that are best diagnosed using MRI, especially those of musculoskeletal system. Moreover, several injuries of tendons and ligaments are mainly diagnosed using MRI, in addition to recently added indications for MRI such as diagnosis of breast cancer and brain abnormalities.
However, the use of MRI is still limited when compared to other diagnostic imaging techniques in many countries. This is caused by the fact that MRI cost is relatively higher than the majority of other diagnostic imaging procedures. For instance, in the United States, MRI cost varies between $400 up to $3,500 according to the site of imaging, i.e. Brain MRI, shoulder MRI, etc…
On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, MRI cost also remains higher than other diagnostic imaging techniques. For example, scanning of organs such as knee, shoulder, and spine would cost about 200 GBP, brain and abdominal MRI costs nearly the same, while cardiac MRI cost is the highest since it costs 415 GBP.
There are multiple factors involved in the high cost of MRI; the number of MRI units generally is much less than other modalities such as X-ray units and CT scanners because MRI units are much expensive than the other devices. A single MRI unit may cost approximately one million US dollars. Moreover, the number of MRI technicians is far too less than the actual need.
In order to overcome the high MRI cost, several companies are currently designing mobile MRI systems, which would be relocated simply between healthcare facilities and thus reducing the costs of the equipment. Such systems would significantly increase the ability to perform more scans offering further use of MRI as a diagnostic tool.