Search thousands of topics on

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> appliances babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business weddings
CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Tests, X-Rays & Imaging > Spinal MRI

Spinal MRI Cost

How Much Does a Spinal MRI Cost?

average costWith Health Insurance: $20-$100+ Copayhigh costWithout Health Insurance: $1,000-$5,000
post E-mail post Post  

A spinal MRI[1] is an imaging test that uses powerful magnets, radio waves, and a computer to create detailed pictures of the discs and nerves of the spine. It may be used to detect problems such as infection, nerve damage, or a tumor, or to clarify results from other tests, such as an X-ray or CT scan. The test is non invasive and does not use radiation.

Typical costs:

  • A spinal MRI typically costs about $1,000-$5,000, depending on such factors as the area of the spine being scanned, whether the procedure is performed in a hospital or a physician's office, and a patient's geographical location. For example, at Aspirus Wausau Hospital[2] in Wisconsin, a basic spinal MRI without contrast (a special dye delivered by IV) costs about $3,03 -$3,290, while at the Pacific Alliance Medical Center in Los Angeles it costs $2,554-$3,115.
  • A spinal MRI, when deemed medically necessary, is typically covered by health insurance plans. If deductibles are met, typical out-of-pocket costs for insured patients consist of a copay for the doctor's visit and possibly a copay for the MRI. For example, under a First CarolinaCare[3] copay plan, the visit copay would be $20 and the MRI copay $100.
Related articles: CT Scan, X-Ray, Brain MRI, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • Prior to the scan, the patient will need to remove any jewelry or clothing containing metal. Then, the patient will be asked to lie on a moveable table that slides into a tunnel surrounded by a magnet, where radio waves are broadcast to create a three-dimensional image of the body.
  • The scan typically lasts 30-60 minutes, but may take longer. Because of the time and positioning required, patients should have the ability to lie flat for that time.
  • Patients can expect to hear loud noises from the machine, but many MRI departments offer earplugs to block the sounds.
  • WebMD offers a detailed overview[4] of the procedure.
Additional costs:
  • About one in 20 patients feel claustrophobic or anxious inside a traditional MRI machine and require a mild sedative such as propofol (Diprivan)[5] , which can cost about $125 - -$400.
  • It's estimated that 5%-10% of patients need a contrast solution, or special dye injected into the body, to further enhance the scan. The solution typically costs about $100-$300 extra.
  • Some diagnostic imaging centers offer discounted prices from about $380-$560, depending on geographic location. These typically apply to patients who pay cash or use credit and do not use health insurance. For example, the imaging center MRI Solutions[6] in Indianapolis offers an MRI of any one region of the body for a flat fee of $450.
Shopping for a spinal mri:
  • The American College of Radiology has a search tool[7] on its website to help patients find accredited hospitals, clinics or health centers that perform MRIs in their area.
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.
post E-mail post Post  
CostHelper News

7 Lesser-Known Discounts for the 50+ Crowd
As they age, members of the Baby Boomer generation don't like to admit that they're senior citizens, but they love getting discounts. It's kind of a quandary, because some of the best deals available are reduced prices for older folks. || Posted October 21 2013

Our Top 10 Favorite Secret Menu Items
Don't believe everything you read. Those menus posted at your favorite fast food spot or coffee stand are not the be all and end all of their offerings. || Posted October 25 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts

What People Are Paying - Recent Comments


Comment On Your Experience With a Spinal MRI
Subject:  *
Amount Spent:  * not covered by insurance
Insurance Carrier: Provider: 
Purchased:  Year: 
City:  * State:  *
Information about you:
Email:  * Email addresses are not displayed.
Name:  This is the name we'll display with your post.
me on this computer
*=required field.

External Resources:
More Health & Personal Care Topics
Check Out All Costs for Health & Personal Care How Much Do Braces Cost? How Much Does Hip Replacement Cost? How Much Does a Mammogram Cost?

Search Thousands of Topics on


Today's Featured Cost Articles

About CostHelper
CostHelper is based in Silicon Valley and provides consumers with unbiased price information about thousands of goods and services. Our writers are experienced journalists who adhere to our strict editorial ethics policy.

CostHelper Community
Angiogram of heart
Paid: 55150.00
Had this procedure done to check heart due to abnormal stress test. Did not need any stents or any other procedure as everything was negative... [more]
-Pamela Garrett
Angiogram Cost
HELP: asbestos in furance - many questions
Paid: 0.00
I am renting out my home in Grand Rapids, MI and have received a notice from the city that the home must be inspected... [more]
Asbestos Removal Cost
Paid: 45.00
The clamp was annoying so it took away concentration of the tiny sting of the needle. I had just turned 15 at the the time and I've had it for almost a year and it has healed fast and never given me any trouble... [more]
Body Piercings Cost
Paid: 3009.00
Single family home... [more]
Ductwork Cost
2 half shafts replaced
Paid: 140.00
Bought the axles myself on ebay for 40 each, then had a mobile mechanic come to my house to do the work. It is not a hard job, but has a couple tricky parts for a subaru. Easier for a honda or toyota... [more]
-Subbie Giy
Replacing a CV Boot Cost
Even with insurance looking at going broke
Paid: 55000.00
Recently on a camping vacation my 11 year old became very sick. Took him to the closest hospital. Found out he is type 1 diabetic. Was very sick and had to be flown from Rock Springs WY, to Salt Lake City, UT. 185 mile on the ground... [more]
-Broke and confused.
Air Ambulance Cost