Siemens 1.5T caters to current market needs

October 23, 2007

Siemens Medical Solutions hopes to turn concerns about reimbursements into sales of its new Essenza MR scanner, the industry’s first high-field MR scanner with a price tag under a million dollars.

Siemens Medical Solutions hopes to turn concerns about reimbursements into sales of its new Essenza MR scanner, the industry's first high-field MR scanner with a price tag under a million dollars.

The company is positioning the system for first-time buyers, such as small hospitals, or cost-constrained sites, such as outpatient clinics wanting to upgrade from low-field MR.

"It makes a very good solution for people who do not have extensive experience in MR," said Britta Funfstuck, Siemens vice president of global marketing.

Essenza, the newest of four 1.5T scanners in the Magnetom portfolio, is easy to site, weighing in at about 3.5 tons and featuring a bore length of 145 cm. The ultrashort bore addresses patient comfort issues otherwise satisfied by low-field open systems.

This very short, very lightweight scanner beats the competition in both the price of acquisition and the price of operation, Funfstuck said. Energy-saving features cut operational costs, while a zero helium boil-off magnet saves on cryogenics, according to the company.

"It is a fundamentally exceptional opportunity to get into 1.5T at a very low cost of ownership," she said.

The eight-channel Essenza, equipped with the company's Total imaging matrix (Tim) technology and V-engine gradients (30 mT/m) will compete not only with new 1.5T products but with refurbished systems, sales of which have been gathering steam lately with the increasing pressure on MR reimbursements.

Siemens held down the cost of its latest system by trimming back on the bells and whistles that allow the most advanced applications, while preserving the workhorse platform that underlies its Magnetom product line. Clinical applications possible on Essenza include central nervous system, vascular, body, heart, breast, cancer, orthopedic, and pediatric imaging. A complete CNS study can be done in less than 10 minutes, according to the company.

"It fulfills classic requirements and addresses standard workflow issues," Funfstuck said.

Cost of ownership is kept in line, she said, through ease-of-use features that minimize training and boost productivity. Siemens engineers have built a major component of the spine array coil, the IsoCenter Matrix Coil, into the scanner bore, eliminating the need for technologists to place this coil and position the patient for each spinal exam. This reduces exam time, as well as wear and tear on the coil. It also ensures that the patient and coil will be correctly positioned, as the coil naturally defaults to the isocenter of the field-of-view.

The IsoCenter Matrix Coil can also be used to perform multistep exams to avoid tedious repositioning, or in combinations with anterior coils to cover specific sections. Essenza also features a Focus Shoulder Array, which brings off-center images into focus, further enhancing productivity.