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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Tests, X-Rays & Imaging > Breast Ultrasound

Breast Ultrasound Cost


How Much Does a Breast Ultrasound Cost?

 
average costWith Health Insurance: $10-$50 Copay or 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $250-$400+
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A breast ultrasound typically is used as a follow-up to a mammogram to get more information about an abnormality, or to check for a growth in a patient who is experiencing certain symptoms. A breast ultrasound has no known risks.

Typical costs:

  • A breast ultrasound typically is covered by health insurance when ordered by a doctor for diagnosis of a problem, but many insurance companies do not cover it for routine screening. For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of a copay of $10-$50 or more, or coinsurance of 10%-50% or more.
  • For patients not covered by health insurance, the cost of a breast ultrasound varies by provider and region with a national average cost of $360, according to NewChoiceHealth.com[1] . Pueblo Radiology Medical Group Services[2] , in California, charges $350 for a breast ultrasound. Baptist Memorial Healthcare in Tennessee, charges $252 for a unilateral and $328 for a bilateral breast ultrasound. And Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center[3] in Nebraska, charges $406 for a unilateral or bilateral breast ultrasound, not including the radiologist fee. A radiologist might charge $100 or more to interpret the images.
What should be included:
  • The patient typically undresses from the waist up and puts on a gown. A technologist places a clear gel on the breast and uses a hand-held device called a transducer that emits sound waves to create an image of the breast tissue on a screen. The procedure usually takes about half an hour.
  • Later, a radiologist will review the images. The ultrasound can help health care providers learn more about an abnormality on a mammogram and/or determine whether a lump is a fluid-filled cyst, in which case there might be no need for further tests or treatment, or a solid growth, in which case further tests likely will be ordered.
  • WebMD Women's Health offers an overview of breast ultrasounds[4] .
Additional costs:
  • Depending on the results, the patient might need another ultrasound or imaging test, a fine needle aspiration of a breast cyst, which typically costs $150-$500, or a breast biopsy, which typically costs $1,000-$5,000, depending on the type of biopsy, according to women's health website Imaginis.com. The cost of a needle biopsy would fall on the lower end of the spectrum, and a surgical biopsy on the higher end. The Mayo Clinic has additional information on breast biopsy.
Discounts:
  • Some clinics offer breast ultrasound services. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a locator[5] for clinics that provide discounts on an income-based sliding scale.
  • Many hospitals and imaging centers give discounts of up to 30% or more to uninsured/cash-paying patients. For example, Washington Hospital Healthcare System[6] in California offers a 35% discount. And Raleigh Radiology in North Carolina offers a 40% discount for payment made in full at the time of service.
Shopping for a breast ultrasound:
  • A family doctor or specialist can make a referral to a hospital or imaging center. Or, the American College of Radiology offers a locator by zip code for facilities that are ACR-accredited in the breast ultrasound procedure.
  • The hospital or imaging center typically will have a radiologist to interpret X-rays. The radiologist should be board certified by the American Board of Radiology.
  • The University of Maryland Medical Center Breast Center[7] offers information on how a breast ultrasound compares with other types of breast imaging procedures.
  • In case a biopsy is recommended after an ultrasound, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has a guide to making decisions about a breast biopsy[8] , including questions to ask the doctor beforehand.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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External Resources:
  1.  www.newchoicehealth.com/Directory/Procedure/58/Breast%20Ultrasound
  2.  www.puebloradiology.com/ultrasound.html#10
  3.  tp.chi.acelogicus.net/nese/Default.aspx
  4.  women.webmd.com/guide/breast-ultrasound
  5.  findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/Search_HCC.aspx
  6.  www.whhs.com/about/washington-hospital-discount-policy-for-uninsured/
  7.  www.umm.edu/breastcenter/faq.htm#11
  8.  www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/ehc/products/17/407/core%20needle%20consumer%20guide.pdf
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