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Medical Imaging Industry Analysis

The medical imaging industry uses technology to image and create internal visual representations of the human body for diagnostic and treatment purposes. Each technique and system provides information restricted to the area of the body being studied or treated. Imaging for medical purposes is generally carried out in hospitals by radiologists, sonographers, medical physicists and nurses.

On the basis of market share Siemens AG, General Electric and Koninklijke Philips N.V. are the leading diagnostic imaging equipment providers across the globe.

Key Market Segments

Over recent years new technological innovations have led to enhanced medical imaging services. Widely used technologies in medical diagnosis include:  

Computed tomography (CT) technology produces cross sectional images of the human body using x-ray photons. CT-scan images provide more detailed information than plain X-rays. With improving technology modern CT equipment allows spiral scanning and produces multiple segment images of the human body simultaneously. The growing use of CT scans in medical diagnosis is expected to drive the global market for the scanners used in these procedures to more than $5 billion by 2020.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce cross sectional images of organs and internal structures of the body. MRI imaging is an important clinical diagnostic tool and the machines used in these procedures are expected to have a market value of about $7 billion in the near future.

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves and health care professionals use it to view tissues such as the heart, blood vessels, kidneys and liver. Rising incidences of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and growing demand for minimally invasive treatment procedures are fuelling the market for ultrasound scanning.

Mammography and nuclear medicine imaging are also widely used as part of medical imaging. For instance the radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine imaging are a more than a $4 billion market.

Regional Market Shares

The global market for medical imaging systems is expected to grow to more than $27 billion in the foreseeable future. The key markets mentioned below are likely to contribute to this growth.

The USA is one of the largest markets for medical imaging. A shift toward less invasive diagnostic imaging procedures, including CT scans, MRIs and ultrasound is likely to drive the market for medical imaging in this country, although there are restraints such as reimbursement issues and regulatory framework concerns.

Europe accounts for about a quarter of the global diagnostic imaging market. X-ray imaging is expected to continue to be the largest category in the diagnostic imaging market in this region. Market growth is also expected to be driven by nuclear imaging, MRI and CT scans. Population ageing and rising demand for health care are likely to drive the diagnostic imaging market to more than $6 billion in the foreseeable future.

The Asian medical imaging market, which is a more than $9 billion market, is growing rapidly due to developing healthcare infrastructure, government initiatives, increasing aging population and rise in incidence of chronic diseases.  High growth is seen in the ultrasound, MRI and X-ray segments. Countries like Japan, China and India are expected to drive the market for diagnostic imaging in this region.

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