Sales of imaging equipment, for which the U.S. market is projected to reach $6.1 billion in 2002, are expected to grow at a 3.4% AAGR, reaching $7.2 billion (in 2002 dollars) by 2007.
The imaging products whose sales are expected to grow most rapidly include digital radiography units, multislice CT scanners, open and ultra- high-field MRI, multimodal CT/PET scanners, and ultrasound, especially portable ultrasound units.
The clinical use of PET (positron emission tomography) and the installed base of dedicated PET scanners will also increase dramatically over the forecast period, although the sales expansion of the last few years is expected to moderate.
The fastest-growing category of the imaging market consists of computer systems that are used as adjuncts to imaging equipment.
When Wilhelm Roentgen waved his hand through a stream of X-rays and saw his bones silhouetted on a screen across the room, he began a new era in medicine: for the first time, physicians could see into the hidden recesses of the body. In the century following Roentgen's accidental discovery, X-ray was followed by a variety of different methods of imaging body tissues, such as ultrasound, nuclear medicine, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.
Today, imaging devices reveal every organ and lay bare every disease. They show us three-dimensional, full-color pictures of the beating heart and cross-sectional slices of the abdomen. We can see blood flowing through our arteries, water traveling along nerve fibers, cells dying in a tumor, antibodies battling infection, and, strangest of all, emotions such as fear and love arising in the brain.
These devices even analyze the images they produce;they identify malignancies, count plaque deposits in arteries, measure bone loss, and calculate the heart's pumping capacity. They also assist surgeons, tracking the positions of their instruments in real time and letting them know what their scalpels are about to cut into.
None of these advances occurred in a vacuum. The newest generation of imaging devices is based on breakthroughs in computer technology, materials science, molecular biology, and medical science. The medical imaging industry works with medical researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and others, to design equipment that will help physicians diagnose and treat disease.
In today's advanced systems, computers optimize equipment settings and then construct, enhance and analyze the images. Even simple X-ray devices are giving way to digital systems in which computer screens replace film. Digital picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) are replacing film libraries and couriers, and helping radiologists to work more effectively. For the accident victim in an emergency room, instant delivery of images to the radiologist may save a life.
Molecular biology is also transforming imaging. The newest contrast agents are complex "designer drugs", based on biological research. They can target and report_highlights precise locations on cells in order to answer highly specific questions. The findings of the Human Genome Project have opened up a world of possibilities for molecular imaging. Equipment designers are learning to optimize their devices to take advantage of these new contrast agents.
Researchers are also developing new techniques for using imaging equipment-techniques that allow radiologists to devise new diagnostic tests, or perform older tests on hard-to-image patients. Again, manufacturers are fine-tuning their equipment so they can use the new techniques.
Over the last few years, the industry has seen a wave of consolidations and joint ventures as large firms diversified their product lines. Now that the leading firms all offer a complete range of imaging systems, they have begun to combine modalities in novel ways. Some of the new hybrid devices create fused images that superimpose two different views of the same subject. Others can be used in different modes to produce different varieties of images.
SCOPE OF STUDY
This report focuses provides coverage of:
- the modalities generally considered part of the medical imaging industry, including Xray, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound and nuclear medicine
- newer imaging modalities such as electrical impedance scanning and optical coherence tomography
- medical imaging markets for each type of product and application, and for geographical areas of the world, with forecasts through 2007
- leading companies in the industry and the structure of the industry
- the regulatory environment, and salient technological developments in each area.
We employed statistical forecasting techniques along with considering developments in technology and other factors affecting demand for equipment. These factors are discussed in each forecast section of the report. Other published forecasts were considered and critically assessed. All projections are in 2002 constant dollars.
To research this report, we reviewed data published by government agencies and industry and professional associations; vendors' annual reports, regulatory submissions, press releases and product literature; healthcare providers' annual reports, web sites and published purchasing plans; and secondary information such as articles in scientific, medical and industry journals. Information and analysis was also obtained through direct discussion or correspondence with manufacturers, healthcare providers, government agencies, and industry and professional associations.
Masha Zager is a writer specializing in and technology. Trained as an economist, she has written about information technology, telecommunications, call center technology, energy markets, securities markets, municipal finance, and a wide variety of other subjects.
The U.S. diagnostic imaging is a growing multibillion market. The total market is growing at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 5.9% through 2004. Valued at just over $4 billion in 1999, diagnostic imaging will generate nearly $5.4 billion by the 2004.
X-ray systems dominate the market in terms of growth and revenue, growing at an AAGR of 7.8% and garnering a 47.7% share. Digital systems, a relatively small fraction of the X-ray systems market, are nonetheless on pace to eventually replace older equipment. These systems alone are experiencing market growth of nearly 23% per year on average. By 2004, X-ray systems will account for 52.1% of the market for diagnostic imaging equipment.
CT, Ultrasound, and nuclear medicine systems, while experiencing sales growth, are not expected to keep pace. Together, CT and Ultrasound systems will grow at an AAGR of 4.1% through the period, while systems for nuclear medicine will grow at an average annual rate of only 3.4%.