News | June 04, 2008

MRI Procedure Growth Slowing to 3 Percent, Says Study

June 5, 2008 - According to IMV's recent census of MRI sites in the U.S., an estimated 27.5 million MRI procedures were performed at 7,195 sites in 2007, a 14 percent increase from 24.2 million in 2003, for an average annualized rate of 3 percent per year.

This represents a slowdown in procedure growth compared to the beginning of the decade, when the average annual growth rate from 1999 to 2003 was approximately 15 percent per year.

"Several factors are contributing to the slower growth of MRI procedures, which in turn influences MRI purchases," said Lorna Young, senior director, market research at IMV. "With the advent of the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005, precertification requirements from health insurers, and the relative maturity of the MRI market, MRI purchases have slowed.

"Currently, virtually all of the hospitals above 200 beds have at least one MRI, and the DRA has slowed the acquisition of MRI systems by independent imaging centers. Unlike CT, which is used 24/7 for emergency and scheduled procedures, MRI procedures tend to be provided on a scheduled basis for specifically prescribed indications. We have also observed that the replacement cycle for MRI is getting longer, which is slowing the number of MRIs that are replaced.

"New procedures are the key avenue for growth, and 3T MRIs are providing some of the market excitement for the future. While only 3 percent of the units installed in 2003 were 3T, at least 20 percent of those who are planning to purchase MRI over the next few years are planning to purchase these systems as replacement or additional units for their department."

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