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New MRI scanners to abound at RSNA show despite sales slump

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Specialty and niche scanners will be hot ticketsIf you didn't know better, you'd think times were rosy in theMRI industry, judging by the new scanners to be introduced atnext week's Radiological Society of North America meeting. Picker,

Specialty and niche scanners will be hot tickets

If you didn't know better, you'd think times were rosy in theMRI industry, judging by the new scanners to be introduced atnext week's Radiological Society of North America meeting.

Picker, Philips, Hitachi, Shimadzu, Elscint and Advanced MammographySystems will all debut new magnets in Chicago. This rush of productscomes as the MRI market closes a second consecutive year of slumpingsales and cutthroat pricing.

The vendors must be crazy, right? Maybe not. Despite the dropin sales, companies can still hit the jackpot if they have theright technology at the right time. Dutch vendor Philips MedicalSystems, for example, released new 0.5- and 1.5-tesla GyroscanNT scanners last year and saw its gamble pay off with a 100% increasein MRI sales (SCAN 8/10/94).

The new scanners are indicative of the tactics vendors areadopting to relieve the equipment purchasing blues. Manufacturersmust segment their product lines to more closely match the needsof customers and avoid losing potential sales. An example of thisstrategy again comes from Philips, which will try to improve onits good fortune by introducing a 1-tesla version of the GyroscanNT platform (see story, page 4).

Another tactic lies in developing new applications to expandthe universe of scanner buyers. The move toward interventionalMRI is a step in this direction (see stories, pages 2, 3 and 4).By growing the interventional niche, vendors are hoping not onlyto secure new sales to radiologists but also to cultivate an entirelynew customer: the surgeon.

What follows is a brief rundown of some of the newest technologyyou'll see while walking the aisles of McCormick Place. For completecoverage of the meeting, see SCAN's Technical Exhibit Report ofthe 1994 RSNA Show, available in February.

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