How much does a PET scan cost?

The average PET scan cost in the United States is $5,750, though prices can range from $1,250 to $9,225.

One factor that can greatly affect the cost of your procedure is whether you have it performed in an inpatient facility, like a hospital, or an outpatient surgery center.

Based on our data, the target fair price for a PET scan is $2,000, whether you have health insurance or not.

  • National Average: $5,750
  • National Range: $1,250 – $9,225+
  • Outpatient Facility Average: $2,550
  • Inpatient Facility Average: $7,275
  • Target Fair Price: $2,000

Below, you’ll learn what factors can affect the cost of your PET scan, as well as how to find a fair price for your procedure.

PET Scan Cost Averages Around the Country

LocationPrice Range
Atlanta, GA PET Scan Cost Average$1,650 – $4,300
Chicago, IL PET Scan Cost Average$1,500 – $3,900
Dallas, TX PET Scan Cost Average$1,350 – $3,500
Houston, TX PET Scan Cost Average$1,500 – $3,900
Phoenix, AZ PET Scan Cost Average$1,500 – $3,900
Los Angeles, CA PET Scan Cost Average$1,700 – $4,400
Miami, FL PET Scan Cost Average$1,450 – $3,800
New York, NY PET Scan Cost Average$1,550 – $3,900
Philadelphia, PA PET Scan Cost Average$1,500 – $3,900
Washington, DC PET Scan Cost Average$1,550 – $4,000

Specific PET Scan Procedures and National Cost Averages

ProcedurePrice Range
Whole Body PET Scan Cost Average$3,300 – $12,000
PET Scan (Skull to Mid-Thigh) Cost Average$3,200 – $12,700
PET Scan (Chest to Head Neck) Cost Average$3,000 – $10,700
PET Scan Heart Cost Average$2,850 – $24,200
PET Scan Brain Cost Average$2,250 – $10,700

Which factors can affect your PET scan cost?

Many things can affect the cost of health care, regardless of which type of procedure you’re getting. Generally, there are three factors that cause healthcare costs to vary:

  • Facility setting — Where you have your medical procedure done affects the cost. No matter which type of imaging scan your doctor has recommended, having the procedure done in a hospital as an inpatient costs far more than having the same procedure done in an outpatient center. Since inpatient facilities tend to cost more to run, patients end up paying more for care.
  • Insured or uninsured — The price of medical procedures can vary between insurance providers. The change in price largely depends on how much of the procedure your insurance plan covers, if any at all. If you don’t have health insurance, you can expect to pay for the full cost of the procedure out-of-pocket.
  • Location — The region, state, and even the city you live in can affect the cost of your medical procedure. If you live in a rural area with fewer facilities to choose from, you can expect to pay more than you would if you lived in a city with many providers. Traveling for a medical procedure can be a great money-saving option.

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Inpatient vs. outpatient facility cost differences

The cost of a PET scan will vary greatly between inpatient and outpatient facilities. The national average cost for the procedure at inpatient facilities is $7,275, while the same procedure at outpatient facilities averaged $2,550.

Insured vs. uninsured cost differences

Insured patients have historically paid less than uninsured patients for a PET scan, especially when they stay in-network. When a patient has insurance, they share payment responsibility with their insurance company. For patients who don’t have health insurance, the cost of their PET scan falls on them and, ultimately, costs more.

In-network vs. out-of-network cost differences

In-network refers to a health care provider or facility that has a contracted rate with a health insurance company. This rate is usually much lower than what someone would pay out-of-pocket; in-network providers are almost always cheaper than out-of-network providers. This does not apply to patients who are uninsured—without insurance, you shoulder the full cost of your medical procedure.  

Payment responsibility

Nearly everyone who has a PET scan will have to pay some of the cost out-of-pocket. Uninsured patients will be responsible for the total cost of their procedure.

Patients who do have health insurance will be responsible for paying their deductible, copay, and coinsurance amounts. The amount of each of these costs depends on your health plan.

More factors that affect your PET scan cost

  • Prescriptions — A physician may prescribe painkillers or a sedative before the procedure. To avoid high prescription prices, make sure the prescriptions you receive are covered by your insurance policy. You can also ask if there is a generic version of the same medicine, which can help lower the cost.
  • Additional office visits — In some cases, you may be charged a separate fee for an initial consultation with the physician before the procedure. You will have a  follow-up appointment soon after the scan to discuss your results. Ask if this follow up visit is included in the total cost of your procedure.

Your PET scan checklist

1. Review the cost of your procedure with your physician. Ask them to explain what each cost is for and keep a record. If you get a medical bill that’s higher than you expected, this information will come in handy.
2. Ask your physician if they can perform the procedure in an outpatient setting.
3. Check that all providers are in-network. Sometimes a provider who treats you will be out-of-network (this often happens with anesthesiologists). You can avoid this by asking your physician whether of the providers who will treat you are in-network for your insurance.
4. Ask what the typical cost is if the physician finds other areas that need to be examined during your procedure.

Finding a fair price for your PET scan

While the national average PET scan cost is $5,750 but the fair price is much less — $2,000. New Choice Health takes the guesswork out of health care by allowing you to compare facilities and make sure you’re getting the price for your procedure. Use New Choice Health’s comparison tool to save money on your PET scan.

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— Update: 10-03-2023 — found an additional article Diagnostic imaging for your dog or cat from the website for the keyword ct scan for cats cost.

Ct scan for cats cost

If your dog or cat is booked to have an x-ray (radiograph) or CT scan, you may be wondering how the appointment will work and how you can prepare. Below, our Natick vets share what you can expect when you bring your dog to us for an x-ray.

About CT Scans And X-rays On Cats And Dogs

Computed tomographic imaging, also known as a “CT” or “cat scan”, works by producing multiple individual images or “slices” throughout a region of interest in the body through the use of radiation (x-rays) and a computer.  A common comparison to an image produced by a CT scanner is individual slices of bread that make up a complete loaf.  The CT machine produces two-dimensional slices of a section of your pet’s anatomy and then configures them into a complete image we can view.  These slices can also be used to create three-dimensional reconstructions that can be very useful for things like surgical planning. Once the images are produced, they are sent to a veterinary specialist to review and interpret. 

An X-ray is a quick, painless test that produces images of the structures inside your cat and/or dog’s body mainly your cat’s and/or dog’s bones. X-ray rays pass through your body, and they are absorbed in different volumes depending on the density of the material that they have to pass through.

What Can A Dog Or Cat X-rays And CT Scans Help Vets Diagnose?

X-rays are one of the most helpful, and frequently used tools in both human healthcare and veterinary healthcare. X-rays can help vets to get a view of your pet’s bones, tissues, and internal organs so that they can diagnose issues such as broken bones, bladder stones, swallowing foreign objects, and more.

X-ray images can help vets to spot some tumors, pregnancy, and enlarged organs which may lead to a diagnosis such as heart disease or cancer. A detailed view of organs, tissues, and ligaments cannot be obtained using x-ray technology. In these cases, other diagnostic imaging such as MRI and Ultrasound is more beneficial. An x-ray of a pregnant dog can also help you to prepare for the birth of puppies by allowing you to know how many puppies your dog is expecting, and whether a c-section may be required for any reason.

The high-resolution images produced by the CT machine help us to evaluate your pet’s anatomy in great detail – a detail that we would otherwise not be able to see using standard x-rays. CT scanners provide excellent detail of bony and soft tissue structures in the body. 

How Can I Prepare For My Dog Or Cat’s X-ray Or CT Scan Appointment?

Often an x-ray and CT scans are done when the animal is brought in to have an issue looked at by the vet. For that reason, no preparation is required. Your vet will examine your pet, then if an x-ray or CT is required, they will take some time to explain the procedure and what they will be looking for.

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If you have an X-ray or CT scan that was booked ahead of time for your pet, your vet will provide all instructions you will need for the day of the procedure.

Will My Dog Or Cat Be Sedated When They Have Their X-ray Or CT Scan?

Sedation is sometimes required to get a clear x-ray. If your dog or cat is calm, not in too much pain, and able to lay in a comfortable position while the x-ray or CT scan is being taken, sedation will not be necessary.

On the other hand, if your dog or cat is squirmy, edgy, or in pain sedation will be recommended. Other reasons why sedation may be used during your pet’s x-ray or scan include if the dog’s or cat’s muscles need to be relaxed to get a clear image, or when the x-ray is being used on the skull, teeth, or spine.

A CT scan is a very safe procedure. Like an x-ray, CT scans use ionizing radiation, but at doses that are not harmful to pets. Because your pet needs to be still during the CT scan, general anesthesia is required for your pets.

Are X-rays And CT Scans Safe For Dogs And Cats?

While the use of x-rays and CT scanners are generally considered safe for dogs and cats, radiation is involved and so x-rays and CTs are typically used only occasionally and generally as a diagnostic tools. In some cases, vets will use x-ray technology to glean information about a dog’s pregnancy however other forms of imaging such as ultrasound could be used in that case.

If you’re concerned about the use of x-ray or CT scanner technology and your dog’s or cat’s health, speak to your vet. Your veterinarian will be able to give you an understanding of the risks versus the benefits in your dog’s and cat’s particular case so that you can decide whether you want your dog or cat to have an x-ray or CT scan.

How Much Will My Dog Or Cat’s X-rays Or CT Scan Cost?

There is a range of factors that will dictate the cost of your dog’s or cat’s x-rays including the size of your pet, the area being x-rayed, whether sedation was used, the type of clinic, where your veterinary clinic is located, and more. If you are concerned about the cost of your cat or dog’s x-rays, ask your vet for an estimate before proceeding.

CT scans are the same as X-rays, the cost will be different based on what needs to be done to your pet. The entire process of a pet CT scan takes about 45 minutes to an hour, not including anesthesia so the price can change.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog needs emergency care during regular business hours contact us right away. At Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital, we are equipped with the diagnostic imaging technology we need to provide you with a fast and accurate diagnosis of your dog’s issue.


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About the Author: Tung Chi