Where can I get the cheapest MRI scan in Pune? Here’s why you probably shouldn’t be asking just this question.

MRI and CT Scan
MRI scan in Pune

Looking for the cheapest MRI scan in Pune? While money is an important factor, make sure you’re not adversely impacting your health, time and resources, by choosing the wrong scan centre. Prateek D.* a resident of Wakad, learnt this the hard way. When his physician recommended he get an MRI scan of his back, Prateek chose the centre offering the cheapest MRI. However, the resulting scan image did not highlight the problem area clearly, prompting his physician to ask for a more detailed scan. Prateek ended up spending again, but this time for a hi-resolution MRI. In his bid to save a thousand rupees, Prateek ended up spending 6000 rupees more.

So, before getting to the question of ‘cost’, what are the crucial factors to tick off your check list? We asked Dr. Shailendra Walunj, our senior radiologist, specializing in vascular, paediatric and body imaging, to help us understand what we should watch out for, while choosing a scan centre. Here are his answers.

Low cost could mean low-resolution

MRI scans are generally considered expensive, but with good reason. An MRI machine from a reputed brand, with the latest, updated technology, demands an initial investment of INR 10 crores and upward, excluding the monthly maintenance costs of a couple of lakhs. So it stands to reason that a hi-resolution scanner, with the latest technology, will be more expensive. But how do some centres offer cheaper MRI scans? “Most patients aren’t aware about this, but refurbished, or second-hand MRI machines, which have lower resolutions (often 1.5T), or have old technology, are easily available in the market. These second-hand scanners are half the price of a new machine, around INR 3-5 crores, which translates into cheaper scans,” explains Dr. Walunj. “However, the flip side is that sometimes, these scans may not provide enough clarity, especially in critical cases, which leads to the patient having to repeat the MRI scan”, warns the doctor. For this reason, at Star Imaging, we only house new MRI scanners, with the latest hi-resolution 3T technology, no matter the initial investment we need to put down,” he adds.

Watch out for centres that put quantity over quality

How many scans can a diagnostic centre do in a day? In this case, quantity is not representative of the centre’s success, says Dr. Walunj. He elucidates, “In a bid to accommodate more scans and reduce cost of each scan, one should not reduce the scan duration per patient, which entails focusing on only a few sequences and cutting down on other parameters, without completing the entire MRI study. This can prove dangerous, because it could lead to a missed diagnosis or a wrong interpretation. Case in point: A young man had approached us for a second MRI scan based on his doctor’s recommendation, because the initial scan of his tumour was not clear. An MRI in our 3T advanced machine (which takes around 45 minutes per patient, on average) revealed a perineural tumour (tumour spread along the nerves) – which meant the patient needed radiation therapy, and not an invasive surgery as originally planned. Had the patient gone ahead with the surgery, it would have done him no good, and worse, put his life at risk with increased morbidity, while draining him of money, energy and time.”

Insist on qualified, specialized radiologists; your diagnosis depends on them

“Many people don’t realize the role of the radiologist – she/he is responsible for diagnosing your problem based on the scan image; and as such, needs to be specialized in the area of the body being scanned, in order to know what details to look for. Especially for critical cases, it is necessary to have super-specialized radiologists”, cautions Dr. Walunj. “This is why many doctors send their patients to us for a second opinion. Our super-specialized radiologists are better at picking up details and ensuring that nothing is missed. Plus, we are one of the few centres that gives patients a high-resolution CD of their scan in the internationally recognized DICOM format, instead of just a hard copy of their scan, as is the common practice. A CD of your scan is extremely helpful, as it allows doctors to zoom in on the image, manipulate it, in order to check the bones/tissues/organs in more detail,” explains Dr. Walunj.

So any concluding advice the doctor would like to leave us with?

“Don’t skimp on quality in order to save a few thousand rupees – by doing so you’re putting your life at risk, and will probably end up spending more in the long run. Also, educate yourself – read up on information online, ask other doctors for their opinion too, and then make an informed decision,’ concludes Dr. Walunj.

Want to meet any of our specialized radiologists for a consultation? Call our clinic for an appointment.

About Star Imaging

Star Imaging only houses the latest, best technology available globally – we have 3T MRI scanners with ambient experience, which minimize claustrophobia, 128 slice CT scanners which maximize clarity and minimize radiation, 2D & 3D Ultrasound and Color Doppler machines, Digital X-rays, an advanced 3D mammography scanner, etc. as well as super-specialized radiologists who are experts in interpreting scan images. Call us at 020 4132 2222 for more information – we’re located it Deccan, Bund Garden Road, Akluj, with a new centre coming up in Wakad in May 2019.

*Name changed to protect identity

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