PET scan stands for Positron Emission Tomography scan. How is it different from the usual CT scan that doctors require?
While the CT scan uses X-ray to be able to take images of the organ of the body at all angles, PET scans use a special dye that contains radioactive tracers. These tracers are injected into a vein of a patient’s arm that will eventually be absorbed by organs and tissues. Through the PET scanners, the doctor will be able to see clear images of how well the organs and tissues work as highlighted by the dye.
These scans are so powerful that they can even measure the blood flow, the oxygen use, how the patient’s body is able to use the sugar or glucose, among others. Because of this, the PET scan are the preferred type of scan over Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT) scan as PET scans can better reveal the size and shape, position and function of the vital organs of the body.
In this article, we will discuss the different PET scan costs, the different factors affecting the price, and changes based on locations and facilities around the country.
Average Cost of Pet Scans
The national average according to MDSave.com is $4,420. This price represents the PET scan of the brain, chest, or the whole body, whether with or without simultaneously using the CT scan.
The NewChoiceHealth.com has the following PET scan cost averages around the country per some state:
- Atlanta, GA $1,650 – $4,300
- Chicago, IL $1,500 – $3,900
- Dallas, TX $1,350 – $3,500
- Houston, TX $1,500 – $3,900
- Los Angeles, CA $1,700 – $4,400
- Miami, FL $1,450 – $3,800
- New York, NY $1,550 – $3,900
- Philadelphia, PA $1,500 – $3,900
- Phoenix, AZ $1,500 – $3,900
- Washington, DC $1,550 – $4,000
Below are the specific PET scan procedures performed in different parts of the body and their national cost averages:
Part of the body Price Range
- Brain $2,250 – $10,700
- Chest to Head Neck $3,000 – $10,700
- Heart $2,850 – $24,200
- Skull to Mid-Thigh $3,200 – $12,700
- Whole Body $3,300 – $12,000
Some of the featured facilities that perform PET scan are presented below including their price ranges:
Name-Location Price Range
- Advanced Imaging Associates-Batavia , NY $1,000 – $3,600
- Advanced Medical Interpretations-Pelham , AL $975 – $3,500
- Advanced Radiology of Columbia-Columbia , MO $975 – $3,500
- Amerirad-Morgantown , WV $1,000 – $3,600
- Bowdle Healthcare Center-Bowdle , SD $2,325 – $8,300
- Central Vermont Medical Center-Barre , VT $1,650 – $3,600
What are Included
The above prices usually include the expenses for the radiopharmaceutical injection or the dye that contains radioactive tracers; the facility fee for the actual scanning or imaging process; and the professional fee of the doctor who is a trained nuclear medicine physician or radiologist who will read and interpret the images and values produced by the procedure in order to diagnose the condition of the patient. The results are usually sent to the referring physician within 24-48 hours after the procedure.
But the price does not include the doctor’s professional fee when the result is presented to your physician for either further evaluation or for the treatment plan.
Because the procedure would take approximately two hours lying flat and still on your back in the scanner bed which could be painful, therefore, you may take some form of pain medication. But be sure to inform the doctor or the technician about it prior to the undergoing the scan.
Shopping for PET Scans
MDSave.com can help you find some facilities offering the PET scan and can even help uninsured patients save on cost, or those with insurance to get high deductibles, by connecting them with the medical service providers using their pre-negotiated savings.
Factors Affecting Cost of PET Scans
- Part of the body – the PET scan cost varies depending on the part of the body being scanned.
- Hospital or facility – the kind of facility where the scan was performed can also affect the PET CT scan price, mainly due to the equipment used as some are more sophisticated than others, and the hospitals tend to charge higher than diagnostic clinics.
- Location – the cost of living and cost of doing business in a particular state, county or city plays an important role in the costing of any product or service and health services are no exceptions.
- Insurance – PET scans are usually covered by insurance either partially or fully. Your out-of-pocket expenses would depend on the amount your insurance provider is willing to cover.
- Cash Payments – most hospitals and facilities give discounts ranging from 10% to 40% for uninsured patients paying in cash.
After the procedure, some remnants of the radioactive tracers would still be in your system. Therefore, you are advised not to be around pregnant women and small children for four hours as a precaution. It is also advised to drink plenty of water to flush the tracers completely out of your body.
The PET scans are mainly required to detect cancer, heart problems, brain disorders and central nervous system issues. Currently, there is no known medical procedure that can detect diseases more clearly than a PET scan.
The PET scan cannot be performed to pregnant women as it may be too risky for the baby. Also, if you are diabetic or have elevated creatinine levels, tell your doctor beforehand. He or she may require a diabetic a special kind of diet prior to the procedure, while those with kidney issues may not be suitable for additional tracers if a CT scan would be required aside from the PET scan due to the possible reaction of medications being taken by the patient with the tracers.
2 thoughts on “How Much Do PET Scans Cost?”
I would to know why a doctor would ask for all these when one should be enough?
I have invasive lobular breast cancer (per a biopsy) that is over 8 cm in size, abutting the breast wall, with “teathering” to breast wall. My surgeon ordered a PET scan to see if the cancer has also spread to other parts of my body, but insurance denied the request. I’m wondering if it be worth paying for this test out of pocket?