A PET/CT scanner combines the benefits of nuclear medicine with the clarity of x-ray imaging. For radiation oncologists, this means identifying the tumor in a patient, and knowing precisely where it is located. It’s a very powerful imaging modality, far superior in many cases to CT, X-Ray, or MRI, when dealing with cancer patients.
Although PET/CT is becoming an increasingly sought-after modality in radiation therapy, the relatively low patient load in the radiation therapy clinic makes the purchase of a PET/CT hard to justify for a practice. After all, a cancer patient will get one or two PET/CT scans during the course of a radiation therapy treatment, yet may require up to 30 or more daily treatments (fractions) on a linear accelerator.
Adding or updating your facility’s linear accelerator (linac) is a decision with budgetary, space, and personnel impacts. In the following paragraphs, we hope to help you in your buying decision by explaining when it is better to seek a new linac and not a used model.
Linear accelerators have become increasingly more sophisticated over the last two decades. The advent of IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy), as well as CBCT (cone beam CT) and VMAT (volumetric arc therapy) means that more data is generated from the linear accelerator than ever before.
In order to keep all of the patient data organized, a Record and Verify System (R&V) should be used. An R&V system is simply a computer server and related software that organizes and stores all of the data that is fed into, or captured from, the linear accelerator and the related patient being treated.
When is purchasing a used linear accelerator a good idea?
Purchasing a used linear accelerator system is not recommended for every facility. New equipment is often a better solution for many customers. If your center requires the latest technology available in the market today, or if you are planning on installing a machine that will not be replaced for a longer period of time (at least in the next 10-15 years) then a brand new machine, or an almost-new machine, is often the better choice.
Many radiation oncology centers often struggle with the idea of new vs. used equipment.
Globalization of the Pre-Owned Medical Equipment Market
Did you know that many Linear Accelerators in operation in the U.S. today were pre-owned linacs sourced in Europe, Australia or Asian countries? Or that many pre-owned systems in operation in Latin America came from the U.S.? The world of pre-owned Radiation Therapy and Diagnostic Imaging Equipment has become truly global, and ROS is at the heart of this globalization. ROS recently completed a de-installation project in Central Europe where a Linear Accelerator system was relocated to a hospital in the Caribbean.
The complexities of an overseas project such as this can be enormously challenging. In the realm of Radiation Oncology, there are often regulatory obstacles, logistical challenges, language barriers, and sensitive timelines to consider.