One of the many images and ideas that young chiropractic students might return to in order to stay motivated is their mental picture of the healthcare center that they may one day own and operate. As the Wellness Chiropractic Center (run by two proud LIFE alumni) demonstrates, there is a ton of room for chiropractic caregivers to design and arrange their space to not only offer optimal health care to their clients, but also to express some of their own personality and energy. Among design choices, however, are some major decisions about what type of equipment to purchase as well as assessments to be made about how much an owner might invest to keep their practice cutting-edge. Today we are going to take a little look behind the curtain to consider what it might actually take for a Chiropractic office to invest in one of its flashiest, yet perhaps most necessary instruments: the X-ray machine.

One of the most common first steps in offering chiropractic care is to do a diagnostic scan of new patients for subluxations of the spine or other ailments. Not only must Chiropractors be trained in operating such equipment, but they also need the knowhow of what to purchase in the first place. Keep in mind, this post is not meant to highlight any specific product or be an in-depth market analysis, but instead to give a little perspective and reality for people imagining what it will be like to build their dream healthcare clinic.

Ok, let’s do brass tacks first. How much does an X-ray machine actually cost? For the purposes of comparison, we will be using a study comparing multiple machines and compiling them into useful price-points to help us get our heads around things. As with so many other things over the past few decades, upgrades in X-ray technology (particularly on the consumer/user side)  largely revolve around implementing more advanced digital imaging technology for both greater image clarity as well as the convenience of being able to share images with patients nearly instantly. Here we will start with the most affordable options available and then move to the most top-notch.

Tier 1: Used Analog X-Ray Retrofitted with Digital Imaging Panels.

Price: $50,000-$85,000

Tier 2: New Analog X-Ray Retrofitted with Digital Imaging Panels

Price: $60,000-$90,000

Tier 3: Native Digital X-Ray

Price: $90,000-$150,00 Used;
$160,000-$300,000 New

As we can see, Chiropractors have a very large decision to make regarding how much they can or will invest into what will likely be the most expensive piece of gear in their arsenal. Again, the discrepancies of prices here come down primarily to how the images by a given X-ray machine are processed and stored. The first two tiers describe analog X-ray equipment that has been retrofitted with digital ray-detection panels (which on their own are a market that a young Chiropractor will have to navigate), meaning that these machines use their original methods of projecting the X-rays through the patient, but a new digital panel will intercept that image rather than store it manually on a cassette or other means. As with anything else, buying used equipment means expecting a limited lifespan for your gear, and you are always somewhat at the mercy of the seller’s honesty. Given, however, that a healthcare professional might save as much as $40,000 by purchasing a used X-ray machine, that may very absolutely make the difference between someone being able to begin their practice and not. Alternatively, doctors who are far less restricted by overhead (or who are simply daydreaming) can start to look at native digital X-ray imaging gear that will be packed with ease-of-use features and would be easier to modify in the future to keep up with developments. If you want some shiny tech to imagine in your ideal setup, take a look around at some companies’ premier products such as the Fuji Velocity, GE XR656, GE Definium 8000 or the Siemens Ysio.

These figures should certainly not scare away young healthcare professionals; they are, of course, worth large sums of money that could be used for just about any car you would care to drive, but an X-ray can also be seen as the cornerstone of a good healthcare clinic. Keep those dreams of your ideal clinic alive but within a little bit of realistic context; your training at Life U will give you the foundation to make that dream a reality.