The use of ultrasound technology is ubiquitous in healthcare, owing to its safety, non-invasiveness, ease of use, and ready accessibility. In diagnostics and therapy, ultrasound machines have been adopted in a variety of specialized applications. Given their extensive scope, the machines understandably cater to different resolutions, portability, and budgetary requirements. Consequently, they come in varying sizes and cost ranges.
Furthermore, with scientific advances, there has been a tremendous increase in imaging quality as well as falling prices. Moreover, even portable machines that were once associated with mediocre quality, now provide high quality imaging in spite of increased portability and reduced sizes.
Given the range of ultrasound equipment available in the market today, it’s cumbersome to research the cost of each of these. To make your task easier, we have put together a simple guide with comprehensive information on ‘how much does an ultrasound cost,’ in terms of both ultrasound machines as well as procedures. So, whether you are a patient who’s about to undergo an ultrasound test or an owner of a large healthcare facility or private practice, we aim to give you an approximate idea of what an ultrasound machine or test may cost you.
How Much Does an Ultrasound Cost? – All You Need to Know
The price of ultrasound machines depends upon a range of factors such as age, brand, model, functionality, and application, among others. So, before discussing the cost of ultrasound machines, let’s consider some of the factors that impact it.
Factors Influencing Ultrasound Machine Cost
- Age – Brand new machines are naturally more expensive than used and refurbished ones. The higher the number of years that a machine has been used for, the lesser will be its price.
- Brand and Model – World renowned brands are more expensive than others, however, it clearly depends upon the type of model and how novel it is. Since newer models adopt advanced technologies, providing more features and superior quality, these are more expensive than older ones. It’s important to check how old a given model is, as it’s difficult to find replacement parts for very old models owing to discontinuation. Newer models come at a higher price than older versions, even if they offer some of the same features.
- Functionality and Application – Machines that cater to a wide range of applications, provide a high degree of flexibility, and hence, are understandably priced higher than the rest. The functionality and range of features offered by a machine largely influence its price tag.
- Portability – Smaller and portable machines, especially handheld ones, are significantly more cost-efficient than say, trolley-based ultrasounds.
- Warranty and Maintenance – In some cases, maintenance costs are included in the machine price. However, most manufacturers and suppliers provide a warranty, by default for a limited period, for instance, one to five years.
Apart from the above factors, ultrasound machine cost depends primarily on whether the equipment is new, used, or refurbished. Some manufacturers also offer demo machines for sale; these are usually, in top-notch condition, almost as good as new. We discuss below these four categories that primarily drive equipment cost.
How Much Does an Ultrasound Machine Cost?
- New – New ultrasound machines are of course brand-new machines sold by the original manufacturer or supplier. Brand new ultrasound machines are also available online. New machines are naturally the most expensive among all categories as these are unused. Cost of new ultrasound machines ranges from $20,000 to $200,000 USD or even higher, if it’s a high-end machine.
- Used – Used machines are typically priced lower than new or refurbished ones since they’ve been used prior, for a given amount of time, ranging from say, a few months to several years. These lie at the lowest end of the spectrum cost wise and are hence, the cheapest among all categories. Used machines can cost between 5,000 and 40,000 USD (depending upon the model and brand).
- Refurbished – The refurbished category is comprised of machines that have been used but refurbished by the manufacturer or supplier. Although the term varies company to company, refurbishment generally means that the machine has been upgraded cosmetically as well as functionality wise. Cosmetic upgrade means that the machines, including covers, have been cleaned and painted, depending on their condition. Functionality wise upgrade includes several enhancements such as, software upgrade, replacement of parts, and unlocking features. Refurbishing aims to make available the full features and functionality that a model is capable of. High-quality machines with advanced functionality, that is, mid-range to high-range refurbished machines cost anywhere from $28,000 to $70,000 USD. You can save a massive $150,000 – $200,000 USD if you opt for a high-end, refurbished ultrasound machine.
- Demo – Demo machines are those that have not been sold to end-users but have been used by manufacturers or suppliers themselves for trades, exhibitions, fairs, training, or testing. Since these are not sold to end-users but used by manufacturers for demo purposes, these are typically in good condition, almost as good as new. Demo machines lie between the refurbished and new categories and are typically priced 30-35 % lower than new machines.
- Low-Range – Low-range ultrasound machines are basic category devices, ideally suited for small-scale or private practice. These machines range from $5,000 to $30,000 USD. An average low-cost machine would typically cost $5,000 – $15,000 USD. Unfortunately, low-range machines are not refurbished as it doesn’t make economic sense to refurbish a machine that is available for $5,000 – $30,000 USD in a brand-new state.
- Mid-Range – Mid-range machines have a functionality and quality that is higher than low-range systems. Therefore, these provide above average imaging quality and functionality along with a moderate range of features. These can be priced from $15,000 to $60,000 USD. Used mid-range machines approximately cost between $15,000 and $25,000 USD, refurbished between $25,000 and $35,000 USD, and new mid-range machines between $45,000 and $60,000 USD.
- High-Range – High-range systems offer advanced functionality and features, and superior quality imaging. These are priced at $100,000 USD and above. Refurbished high-range machines are much reasonably priced, from $50,000 to $70,000 USD. And used high-end machines cost substantially lower, ranging from $25,000 to $40,000 USD.
These prices may vary depending upon the brand and model.
Cost of Ultrasounds by Type of Procedure
Contrary to popular perception, ultrasound is required for several types of examinations other than examination of fetus during pregnancies. To answer a commonly asked question ‘how much is an ultrasound,’ we discuss the costs of different types of ultrasound procedures.
Cost of Pregnancy/Fetal Ultrasound
A fetal ultrasound is required to examine the fetus during pregnancies and is considered necessary prenatal care. According to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, healthcare insurance providers are required to cover routine ultrasound tests, on a no-cost sharing basis, as these come under necessary prenatal care.
However, most women are required to cover a large portion or all of the test fees in the form of co-pay, deductible, or co-insurance. This is because many healthcare insurance providers deduce that ultrasound tests are not included under the health reform law. Doctor-prescribed sonograms are still covered by providers, as opposed to keepsake ultrasounds, but women may have to pay a part or all of the ultrasound costs, depending on the plan and provider.
Fetal ultrasounds are performed using 3D, 4D ultrasound machines. Their costs depend on the location and type of facility. For instance, ultrasounds are more expensive in cities like NY and Chicago. Similarly, a large hospital with high administrative expenses would charge more than say, a stand-alone laboratory or private clinic.
For instance, according to Value Penguin, a pregnancy ultrasound typically costs $280 but this could vary, depending on the facility and city. On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, an ultrasound would cost $321 while in small-town PA, one could expect a reasonable cost of $265. Again, within Philadelphia, it could vary as a large hospital in PA would charge $300 but a small clinic may charge only $143.
Cost of Transvaginal Ultrasound
Transvaginal ultrasounds are conducted to examine the fetus or any abnormalities in the pelvic region including vagina, uterus, cervix, and urinary tract. According to Spend on Health, the reasonable fee for a transvaginal ultrasound is approximately $278. The charges vary from city to city and are also based on whether it is an obstetric or non-obstetric ultrasound.
In case of non-obstetric transvaginal tests, one may need to factor in other costs such as biopsy fees, if the ultrasound detects abnormalities.
Cost of a Pelvic Ultrasound
Pelvic ultrasound tests are generally performed to detect cancer in the female pelvic cavity, among other reasons. According to NewChoiceHealth, the national average price for a pelvic ultrasound is $575. The price varies by city and the lowest approximate price is $220 in Lincolnton, NC. On the other hand, the price could go as high as $3,200 in Bennetsville, SC. Since the price varies according to the provider, if you’re looking for a cost-efficient test, it would be best to avoid going to a big hospital or healthcare center and preferable to get it done at a private practice or small clinic.
Customized Quote on any of Our Ultrasound Machines
Use of ultrasound technology in detecting and treating medical conditions is indispensable today given that it’s a safe screening method, in comparison with harmful radiology. Moreover, ultrasound will play an even larger role in healthcare as the technology advances and in turn, further broadens its scope of application.
To help you equip your practice with the right ultrasound system that fits your clinical and budgetary needs, we offer a wide range of cutting-edge ultrasound machines from leading manufacturers such as, GE, Mindray, Philips, Sonosite, and Toshiba. Contact a National Ultrasound professional today for a customized quote on any of our wheel-based or portable ultrasound machines.