There are certain terms that are thrown around often and we have a vague idea of what they are, but nothing more. “X-ray” is one of those terms. What exactly is an X-ray? How does it work and is it safe? If I need an exam, how do I find a cheap X-ray near me?
What is an X-ray?
An X-ray is a medical imaging test named for the type of energy it uses: X-rays. During the exam, a machine projects X-rays through your body, which can be used to create images of our bodies.
X-rays go through various types of body tissue in different ways. For instance, they’ll pass through bone differently from the lungs and muscles. These differences allow the machine to capture an internal image of certain types of body tissue. Together, the X-rays outline the various structures of the body, enabling doctors to diagnose problems if they are present.
Are X-rays safe?
There’s often talk about the radiation from X-rays and whether the tests are safe. While X-rays do use radiation in your body, and that term makes some people uneasy, these tests and their health effects have been thoroughly researched and found to be safe.
In fact, we experience background radiation from the sun in our normal day-to-day activities. In comparison, the amount of radiation from a chest X-ray is equal to ten days’ worth of the background radiation we all experience each day.
As a result, an X-ray is barely a blip on your body’s radar and doctors are rarely concerned by the amount of radiation from X-rays alone.
When do I need an X-ray?
X-rays are only necessary in specific medical situations, such as when your doctor suspects you have a certain condition. For example, X-rays are used to check for bone fractures, while chest X-rays can look for pneumonia or other lung conditions. Certain types of X-rays can help to diagnose conditions of the lower intestinal tract as well, and dentists use X-rays to monitor your teeth’s health. In general, your doctor will decide when you need one and most states in the U.S. require a doctor’s order to get an X-ray.
How do I get a cheap X-ray near me?
In some cases, X-rays are urgent and must be performed in a hospital. For instance, this might happen if you’re in the hospital with severe breathing issues and the doctors need to quickly get an image of your lungs.
More often, though, X-rays aren’t emergencies and you have the ability to choose your own provider. In those cases, start by getting a written order from the doctor with the exact CPT code you need. A CPT code is a medical code created by the American Medical Association that corresponds to the specific procedure or medical service that you receive. For instance, one CPT code refers to an X-ray of your spine, another to an X-ray of your chest, and so on. This reduces miscommunications and ensures that your entire medical team (and health insurance companies) are on the same page about the exact care that you need.
From there, call around to various X-ray providers in your area. Give them that CPT code and ask for their prices, both for paying in cash and for using your insurance if you have insurance. In general, X-rays will be more affordable at imaging centers compared to hospitals. You may be surprised, however; in many cases, it may cost less to pay for your X-ray in cash rather than using your insurance.
Getting help from the pros
Comparison shopping for X-rays can take time and energy that not everyone has to spare. To skip hours of Googling “X-ray near me” and calling provider after provider, you can use Imaging Panda to get a cheap X-ray. We’ve done all this legwork for you - we’ve found the cash prices for the X-ray centers near you and simplified the entire appointment booking process. Based on your doctor’s order, we can help you find the cheapest X-ray without wasting your precious time.