HealthCost has the information and the tools you need to make an intelligent and informed decision as a healthcare consumer. This accounted for 57% of bone scans, 53% of ultrasounds, 38% of MRIs, 33% of CT scans and 11% of x-rays. CT or computerized tomography scan uses X-rays that take images of cross-sections of the bones or other parts of the body to diagnose tumors or lesions in the abdomen, blood clots, and lung conditions like emphysema or pneumonia. What it is: Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, provides detailed pictures of internal organs, tissue, and bone. CT scans are more widely used than MRIs and are typically less expensive. Why are some CAT scans so expensive? “I was pretty flabbergasted,” said Robert Varipapa, himself a physician. PET is generally considered an “expensive” imaging test, yet when compared with the summed charges of contrast-enhanced CT studies of the neck, chest, abdomen, and pelvis, the cost of PET imaging may be quite comparable. Nowhere is the problem of “more for less” better exemplified than in the medical imaging industry (MRIs, CT scans, X-Rays) where common procedures such as an MRI easily cost a couple thousand dollars or more for a single scan. Likewise, CT scans of the heart or whole body can unearth suspicious findings, such as lung nodules, which trigger a painful and risky lung biopsy, but … Why are CT scans so expensive? What it costs: It's usually more expensive than other types of scans. How Much Should I Expect to Pay for a CAT Scan? Best Answers At $2,600 on average for an MRI and $1,100 on average for an ultrasound, even one unnecessary test is too many for folks on a budget, unless your insurance or Medicare covers the test. MRI or magnetic resonance imaging uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to make images of the organs, cartilage, tendons, and other soft tissues of the body. One factor that can greatly affect the cost of your CT scan is whether you have it performed in an inpatient facility, like a hospital, or an outpatient surgery center.. Outpatient centers are just as safe as hospitals but could save you thousands on your medical bill. MRIs, however, are thought to be superior in regards to the detail of the image. Here’s what you need to know. The short answer: Hospitals and medical centers can charge whatever they want. Some doctors warn that … The average cost of a CT scan in the United States is $3,275, though prices can range from $300 to $6,750. There, doctors ordered a full CT scan, a radiation imaging test, which found a harmless ovarian cyst. Why MRIs Are So Expensive. And better yet, why is there such a range of prices for CAT scans? Similarly, at many facilities the charges for MRI and PET are similar. CT scans, which are administered more than 85 million times a year, are an important diagnostic tool, but just one can be equivalent to 200 X-rays. Coupled with the cost, limitations and radiation dose, that makes it a poor choice for general screening. She never questioned the CT scan, CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports. But her father did - when he got the $8,500 bill, $6,500 of which was that CT scan. Los Alamitos Medical Center, Terhune found, charges $4,423 for an abdominal CT scan. Blue Shield’s negotiated rate is about $2,400. But for general anatomical studies, PET is actually pretty low-resolution compared to CT or MRI - unless the hospital has the even more expensive dual unit that does a CT location scan integrated with the PET. The study involved 72 orthopedic surgeons who saw 2,068 patients and reported ordering 20% of their expensive imaging tests "for defensive reasons." Blue Shield’s negotiated rate is about $2,400. 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