Before a patient begins treatment with radiotherapy, a team of experts will meet to develop a specific plan for each individual patient. The first step in the planning process may involve the use of a CT simulator, which includes a CT scan of the area of the body that needs radiation treatment. This piece of equipment is essential during the initial planning process and is a great asset to any clinic or organization to have available for use. Many considerations should be made when purchasing radiotherapy equipment such as a CT simulator, the software and cooling systems, and the purchase of an x-ray tube.
Choosing a CT Simulator Based on the X-Ray Tube
The most expensive component of a CT Simulator that also needs to be replaced the most is the x-ray tube. The x-ray tube is required to endure very high heat loads, preferably having the ability to store 5 million heat units (MHU) or more. The use of high heat unit tubes provides a longer life of the unit, which will, in turn, save on downtime when needing to be replaced. In choosing a CT Simulator to purchase, it is best to base the decision on the tube it comes with. A system that may be less costly upfront may have a tube that does not last very long and could ultimately cost more in the long run than if initially purchased with a better tube, to begin with.
Best X-Ray Tubes for Your Buck
When looking at CT Simulators for purchase, the tubes as explained above are important to consider in longevity. Each system comes with a specific tube and no upgrade options are available. Some of the most popular x-ray tubes for CT Simulation include:
- GE RT 4 MCS7079 Varian Mini Hercules 7.5 HUU – This tube is well known for not being the best, but perhaps one of the worst-performing tubes with a short life span as well. Another downfall is that Dunlee replacement tubes are not offered for this model and must have a Varian tube from GE that can cost roughly $200,000 new. There are used options for replacements for under $100,000. Overall, this tube should come with a large caution sign showing the many reviews from users to stay away from this system if possible.
- GE RT 16 Hercules MX240 8.0 MHU – These next tubes have a reasonable life expectancy of about 6,000 to 10,000 patient scans performed however, they have been known to exceed this amount and go beyond 15,000 scans. The tubes are warranted from GE and Dunlee for 6,000 scans. There are new replacement options from the Dunlee manufacturer and Reevo 240G that are priced at $195,000 new. They can be purchased used for $75,000- $100,000 as well.
- Philips MRC 600 8.0 MHU – This third option is by far the best in value with tubes that are among the longest-lasting on the market. The x-ray tubes exceed 800,000 to 1,6000,000 scan seconds or roughly 4 to 7 years at a mid-range patient occupancy level. On average, they can cost $140,000 new and $40,000-70,000 used.
Weighing Pros and Cons
Purchasing equipment for radiotherapy is never an easy task with having so many options available, both new and used provided as well. When choosing tubes at a lower price point, it may give a company good value in the short-term, but keep in mind, it will need to be replaced more frequently. If you don’t want to worry about needing to replace the tubes as often, a higher-end tube is your best option, but it will cost more. Ultimately, you need to take into consideration your facilities’ unique needs for the best solution available.
As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale. More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.