Siemens dips below $1M with new 1.5T MR

November 26, 2007

Executives at Siemens Medical Solutions are out to give competitors, including those selling reburbished MRs, a run for their money. Listing below $1 million, the company’s new Essenza MR scanner is the most affordable 1.5T system in the industry.

Executives at Siemens Medical Solutions are out to give competitors, including those selling reburbished MRs, a run for their money. Listing below $1 million, the company's new Essenza MR scanner is the most affordable 1.5T system in the industry.

It competes with even refurbished high-field scanners, whose sales have been gathering steam lately due to the increasing pressure on MR reimbursements, according to Britta Funfstuck, Siemens vice president of global marketing.

"It makes a very good solution for people who do not have extensive experience in MR," Funfstuck said.

Essenza made its first public appearance on the RSNA exhibit floor, although the company announced the new system in mid-October. The compact, lightweight system is being touted as a premier choice for first-time buyers or veteran MR providers at cost-constrained sites such as outpatient clinics who want to upgrade from low-field MR.

Complementing low capital costs are energy saving features that cut operational costs, while a zero helium boil-off magnet saves on cryogenics, according to the company.

The newest of four 1.5T scanners in the Magnetom portfolio (the others are Avanto, Espree, and Symphony), Essenza is easy to site, weighing in at about 3.5 tons and featuring bore length of 145 cm.

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

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. The eight-channel Essenza comes equipped with the company's Total imaging matrix technology and V-engine gradients (30 mT/m). Clinical applications 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.

Boosting productivity in spine studies is the IsoCenter Matrix Coil, a spine array coil built into the scanner bore. Integrated into the scanner, it eliminates the need for technologists to place a 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 are correctly positioned, as it 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.