How Much Does a Myelogram Cost?
A myelogram is a type of x-ray that uses contrast, which allows doctors to see the bones and fluid filled spaces between the bones of a person’s back. Before the CAT scan and the MRI were introduced, the myelogram was considered the appropriate test used to examine the spinal canal and spinal cord to check if there was pressure on the spinal nerves from several factors. Although, it is still used for very special purposes, a myelogram is no longer the first option doctors choose to determine if their patient has a herniated disc, an infection, a tumor, or a narrowing of the spinal canal due to arthritis.
During the myelogram test, a patient will undergo a special x-ray dye into their spinal sac. It is performed by a doctor in a radiological facility or radiology department of a hospital. This is not something that is normally done in a doctor’s office.
How much does it cost?
- In an outpatient center, a myelogram is going to cost anywhere from as little as $600 to as much as $1,500. However, if the procedure is done inside of a hospital, the costs can be as high as $3,000 without insurance. If you have a health insurance plan, be sure to check with your provider to know what you will be responsible for. For those who want a new policy or are looking to switch, consider browsing through hundreds for free at eHealthIinsurance.com.
- Healthcarebluebook.com says that a fair price of physician’s services for a myelogram is around $268.
- Newchoicehealth.com states that the price for a myelogram is anywhere from as little as $800 to as much as $2,000 without any sort of insurance.
What is going to be included?
- You need to inform your doctor if you are taking medications, have recent illnesses or other medical conditions, and about your allergies. Some drugs have to be stopped a day or two before the myelogram is performed.
- A myelogram can be done to diagnose the reasons for the cause of numbing, pain, or weakness in the arm or leg; narrowing of the spinal canal, called spinal stenosis; a tumor or infection in the spinal cord; a herniated disc; inflammation of the membrane that covers the brain; and problems with the blood vessels in the spine.
- Before you go through the test, you will be asked to remove all your jewelry and most or all of your clothes above the waist. You will be provided a gown during the examination.
- The doctor makes a puncture into your thecal sac, or the spinal canal containing a fluid-filled tube, with a spinal needle and a special dye, called contrast medium, to obtain pictures of the bones and the thecal sac between the bones of your spinal canal.
- The puncture performed on your thecal sac is known as lumbar puncture.
- The whole test takes about 45 to 60 minutes.
What are the extra costs?
- After a myelogram is performed, the doctors will many times do a CT while the contrast material is still in your body. This will be an extra charge and a separate reading.
- Some doctors, especially those who have established themselves in the field, tend to charge more for their service.
- You might require follow-up examinations to monitor on the development of a known abnormality.
- A hospital setting is going to cost more than an outpatient center.
- After the test has been performed, additional lab fees may apply.
- A professional fee, as well as miscellaneous fees, may be charged. For instance, this could include a radiologist reading.
- Whatever the test results show, you may need more treatment for the problem.
Tips to know:
- During the myelogram test, multiple x-rays will be performed.
- Unlike the MRI scan, a myelogram does not show the soft tissues directly. It will only show the bones and the spinal fluid where the dye infuses with the fluid.
- Since myelogram requires a spinal tap, it involves more risks than the other types of diagnostic tests.
- Although an accurate diagnosis outweighs the risk, it should be noted that there might result a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation.
- A myelogram cannot be performed on patients having severe curvature of the spine or who have increased intracranial pressure.
- Alert your doctor if you are pregnant or could be pregnant, if you are prone to seizures, if you have asthma, if you have problems with your kidneys, or have diabetes.
How can I save money?
- Check with varied healthcare facilities and doctors in your area that charge moderately. Most companies are able to give you a quote over the phone.
- Verify with your insurance company if it covers your myelogram and how much it can pay. If you do not have insurance, you may discuss the matter with your doctor or the medical facility staff and see if you can arrange for an instalment payment.