SPECT scan stands for Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography. This is a type of nuclear medicine tomographic imaging procedure that doctors utilize to analyze your body’s organs, tissues, and bones.
SPECT scans also provide images to show how your blood flows to your heart or brain. For example, the doctor will be able to see which parts of the brain are less or more active. This type of test is able to identify conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or dementia. Also, it is used to assess brain trauma and traumatic brain injury caused by an accident.
How much does a SPECT scan cost?
The national cost range of a SPECT in the United States is anywhere from $1,300 up to $4,000 or more. This cost will greatly depend on your geographical location, whether or not you have insurance and the medical facility you go to.
If you do not have any type of health insurance expect to pay around $4,000 and even more, for a SPECT scan.
MDSave.com claimed that the average cost of a SPECT brain scan done in one of their facilities is somewhere from $1,441 up to $2,817. The cost will vary depending on the location of the facility. Also, they state on their official website, that the average national cost of a SPECT is $3,990. They also say that, for California, the average regional cost is around $2,379 for this type of test.
A psychiatrist stated on ScienceBasedMedicine.org, that in order to diagnose and set a treatment for conditions such as ADHD, dementia, anxiety, or obesity, he uses this tomographic imaging procedure. Also, he mentioned that the cost of this procedure is around $3,500.
MySquirrelBait.com did some research on a few medical facilities that use this SPECT procedure to see how much they may charge for a test. They claimed that the cost ranges anywhere from $1,300 up to $4,500. Also, they stated that the cost is greatly influenced by the geographical location, the specific facility, and whether or not you have health insurance. Several facilities that they contacted are Amen Clinic, Cedar Sinai Medical Centers, and Mayo Clinic.
Typically, health insurance may not cover all the expenses for a SPECT scan, but at least it will decrease the bill considerably.
Take into consideration that these costs will greatly vary, and before scheduling a procedure you may want to look out for more quotes from different facilities.
MDSave.com listed their average costs for a SPECT scan on their official website from different regions where they operate.
You can find these prices in the table below:
|Region||MDSave Average Cost|
According to North Memorial Health, a SPECT scan will cost $2,817 at their facility.
ClimbingCinderCone.com stated that even though they were covered partially by their health insurance, they were still charged a few thousand dollars.
SPECT scan overview
Before having the SPECT scan you will have to talk to your doctor about other possible health issues such as diabetes, allergies, a possible pregnancy, breastfeeding, or if you had another nuclear scan procedure. In the case of diabetes, the doctor may require, you to decrease your normal dose of medicine, before the scan.
Also, if you know you suffer from any allergies, especially to iodine, it is recommended that you inform your doctor. Women who have babies, will not be able to breastfeed for 2 days after the nuclear scan procedure.
During the brain SPECT scan procedure, firstly, the doctor will inject the radioactive tracer into a vein. Usually, it takes up to an hour for the tracer to move through your body and reach your brain. It is also recommended not to move during this time.
The second step will be the actual scanning. You will lie down on a scanner table and a professional camera will move around your head to take pictures of your brain. Take into consideration that staying still is mandatory for an accurate scan. For your comfort, you may receive some earplugs and a blindfold.
If the SPECT scan is done on other organs, for example, your heart, several electrodes will be attached to your body. During the actual scanning, you will be alone in the room, but the tech will check on you through a window. However, you will be able to communicate with him through a two-way intercom.
This procedure can take between one and three hours, and there may be a possibility to come in for another scan.
After the scanning procedure is done, the pictures of the scanned part will be sent to a computer to create 3D images for interpretation.
These 3D images will help the doctor evaluate the functioning of your organ. The scans will be able to show the activity of your brain, the flow of blood to your heart, cancer progression, and other health issues.
The doctor may talk about some preliminary results right after the scan, but the complete results will be available in one to two days.
Extra costs related to Spect brain scan
There are cases when a second scanning may be required, due to you moving during the scanning or for other medical tests.
If the scanning reveals any health issues, a specialized doctor will analyze the results and based on his expertise, he may recommend a treatment. In order to be treated for any disease, a prescription may be given. This will represent an additional cost.
Important about the brain SPECT imaging
During the SPECT scanning, it is recommended that you stay perfectly still.
Metallic jewelry is not allowed while the procedure is done.
Inform the doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If any surgery has been done recently, you may have to wait a period of time to be able to do a SPECT scan.
Rarely, allergic reactions may appear from the tracer substance.
How can I save money?
Consider asking for multiple quotes from different facilities that provide SPECT scans. This way you will be able to compare the costs, in order to find the one that will fit your budget.
There are chances that your health insurance will not cover the SPECT scan expenses. Ask if there are any cash discounts if you are available to pay the full amount in cash.