How Much Does a PET Scan Cost?
PET scan average costs
Like other diagnostic tests, PET scans vary in price from state to state. The list below includes the general national price averages for each procedure.
National Price Range
$3,000 - $12,000
$2,800 - $24,200
$2,200 - $10,700
Skull to Mid-thigh
$3,200 - $12,000
Chest to Neck
$3,000 - $10,700
What is the difference between a PET scan and a CT scan?
PET scans, or positron emission tomography, are imaging tests that utilize a dye that contains radioactive tracers. These tracers can be swallowed or injected, depending on what part of the body the scan will assess. PET scans are ordered to take detailed images of your body and to look for internal abnormalities. They also provide images of the biological processes happening inside your body.
CT scans, sometimes called CAT scans, are computerized imaging tests that use X-ray technology to get cross-sectional body images. CT scans are more adept at providing images of structures within your body, whereas PET scans can capture processes. If your physician wants a clear image of your bones or abnormalities in your soft tissue, she would order a CT scan. However, if your physician needs to examine organ or tissue function, or detect an early-stage disease that doesn’t appear on other imagining tests, she would likely order a PET scan.
Occasionally, a PET/CT scan is performed simultaneously, which allows for a more accurate diagnosis.
CT scans can:
- Detect muscle and bone disorders
- Detect tumors
- Visualize infections and blood clots
- Detect internal bleeding
- Guide surgeries, radiation therapy, and biopsies
- Measure the effectiveness of a treatment plan to see if adjustments are needed
PET scans can also:
- Measure blood flow, oxygen use, and blood sugar metabolism
- Detect cancerous tumor cells and monitor their spread
- Monitor a treatment plan to see if it has been effectiv
What affects the cost of a PET scan?
There is no firm answer of how much a PET scan costs with insurance versus without insurance, since many variables can affect PET scan prices. Some of these aspects include:
- Regional prices that differ from city to city
- Your insurance coverage
- Type of PET Scan
- Where it’s performed
PET scan prices vary from state to state, and even city to city. If you live in an area with fewer medical facilities, you will probably encounter higher costs. The amount of money you pay for a PET scan is also influenced by your insurance coverage, including and how high your deductible is. A full-body PET scan cost will be higher than the cost of a PET scans for a specific cancer (in a localized area, like the chest or the brain). The last factor that can dramatically impact the price is whether you receive the scan in an outpatient facility, like a surgery center, or an inpatient facility, like a hospital. The difference between the two can easily run as high as $5,000.
How do I avoid additional costs?
Patients can avoid additional costs by researching the prices of PET/CT scans ahead of time. In some cases, it might be more cost-effective to travel to a different city for a specific procedure. Generally, outpatient facilities are much less expensive than inpatient facilities.
If you are having trouble finding affordable imaging centers near you, you can visit Tripment Health and explore upfront transparent pricing for PET scans.
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