Women’s imaging. Clearly one of the top two or three m

ost important areas in any successful imaging center, radiology practice, hospital or specialized women’s center. At the heart of this, of course, is Mammography. Today, 

specifically, Digital Mammography. And coming soon— if not already “here”— is 3D Mammography, i.e. Tomosynthesis.


So you need to jump into the Mammography market, but NEW systems start at $250,000, and your budget is half of that. How do you save money but still offer excellent image quality and ACR Compliance for your patients? Here is our best advice from years of experience:

Tip #1— Know The Best Technology To Fit Your Budget:

There are three (3) major choices in technology when it comes to Digital Mammography:

1. CR (Computed Radiography),

2. Dedicated Full-Field Digital Mammography,

3. Dedicated Full Field Digital Mammography with Tomosynethesis.

CR is the least expensive, but you’ll also need to have a late-model analogue mammography system, or add one with the CR. Dedicated Full-Field Digital Mammography is the most popular, but will cost you more. Digital with 3D Tomosynthesis is the latest technology, and these are just now becoming available on the used equipment market.

Tip #2— Know The Brand and Model Differences:

The two USA FDA-approved Mammography CR options are Fuji and Kodak. First on the market, Fuji is the primary brand you will find as a Refurbished system. The two main brands of Full-Field Digital Mammography are GE and Hologic. GE was first into the Digital Mammography market in 1998 with the Senographe 2000D. These 2000D systems were manufactured up until 2006, have a smaller detector (19.2x23), but are still a very viable option for entry-level Digital Mammography. Next from GE was the Senographe DS which offers a newer-style gantry and the ability to add stereotactic biopsy. The latest system from GE is the Senographe Essential and it offers a larger detector (24x31cm). Hologic offers the Selenia which has the larger detector (24x29cm) and is considered one of the best options in the Digital Mammography market. Hologic also has the Dimensions 2D and Dimensions 3D systems, which have Tomosynthesis, or are upgradeable to Tomosynthesis.


Tip #3-- Know The Difference between Used and Refurbished:

Buying a Non-Refurbished, or Used, Digital Mammography system is going to be your cheapest option, but it might not be a good idea, since these systems are typically sold without a warrany. First: Unlike other imaging modalities, Digital Mammography requires you to take special care of the image receptor or detector, which is often removed and put into a special temperature-controlled box during shipping. Second: Since Mammography is highly regulated, you need to make sure your system passes MQSA and ACR on installation. If you buy “As-IS” or without a warranty, you may find when you go to install your system that it does not pass. This can cost you thousands of dollars to correct. Make sure you get an ACR and MQSA warranty in writing. It may add to the up-front cost of the machine, but it will ensure that your equipment vendor supports you through that process.

Tip #4-- Know That Your Vendor’s Experience Is Your Key To Success:

Speaking of your equipment vendor: The company that sells you your Refurbished Mammography system should be VERY experienced in this type of installation, and have the service team and technical means to guaranty your success. Digital Mammography is a very specialized field, and not all refurbished equipment companies have successfully worked on these sorts of projects. You will need a company that understands networking, DICOM and PACS— as well as ACR and MQSA (see #3 above). Make sure to ask lots of questions and to get a Client Reference list. 

Tip #5— Know If You Need CAD or a Doctor's Workstation:

Not all Digital Mammography systems come with CAD (Computer Aided Detection). Do you need it? Not all users do. If you are required to have CAD you want to make sure it is included. Likewise you may or may not need a Doctor’s Workstation (sometimes called a Review Workstation). These workstations typically come with a set of 21-Inch 5MP (Mega-pixel) monitors, software and a PC. If you do not have a radiologist reading at your location, you may not need this. Otherwise, the Review Station and its installation and configuration may be a vital part of your new set-up. If you're comparing quotes for pre-owned systems, make sure that CAD and workstations are included if you need them.

Tip #6-- Know That Warranties Are Not Free.

And about those quotes you'll be getting: Before you throw out your highest or mid-level quotes for that rock-bottom offer that seems like such a great deal, look at the warranty -- or lack of one -- closely. Because of the labor-intensive process of guiding a customer through ACR and MQSA approval, as well as the high cost of the Digital Detector, warranties and service contracts on Digital Mammography are expensive. There's no way around it. Know that the dealer selling you a Full-Field Digital Mammography system with a 1-Year Warranty has to figure the value of that warranty as between $15,000-45,000 a year, depending on the model of the system. Take a realistic look at the level of service that will be best for you.


Okay, here you have six powerful pieces of advice to guide your purchase of a good Refurbished Mammography system. Of course every customer has different needs, so there are going to be questions that only knowledgable people with many years of selling Digital mammography can answer. That's where Integrity Medical can help. Our professional tips above are based upon 25+ years selling refurbished Mammography— AND 15+ years selling refurbished Digital Mammography. Give us a call. We have a dedicated sales and service team ready for you.