Why Are X-Rays So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Isabelle O'Gallagher

Isabelle O'Gallagher is a personal development and relationship expert who has consulted for some of the biggest companies in America.

X-rays are among the earliest forms of medical imaging and are still in demand today. These are used in different applications, like mammograms and IVP X-rays.

Being very useful in the medical field in determining health conditions, an X-ray comes at a high price. So, if you’re curious about how expensive it is, keep reading to discover more!

Why Are X-Rays So Expensive?

X-rays are expensive mainly because the equipment itself is expensive, and the protective gear used during the X-ray adds to the price. Additionally, it needs a professional to perform the procedure correctly. Ultimately, it has the power to detect whether there’s something wrong with your condition, and it all makes X-rays more expensive.

Want to know why they’re so expensive? I will now share 11 reasons why X-rays have become expensive; read more!

1. X-Ray Equipment Is Expensive

Digital and traditional X-ray machines are not cheap. Instead, a lot of X-ray equipment costs more than $100,000 and will vary depending on the manufacturer.

So, to cover their costs, doctors and hospital facilities must bill the patients a premium fee for X-ray scans.

2. X-Ray’s Multiple Prints Provision

Every print of your X-ray will increase costs if you need multiple images, mainly due to the printing method used.

Moreover, printing photos, particularly high-resolution images on photo paper, is usually more expensive than printing conventional documents.

Also, since most of the image in the X-ray is dark, it takes a lot of ink, and doctors will charge you extra if you request multiple copies to send to doctors or even save one for yourself.

Thus, this explains why an X-ray is expensive.

3. X-Ray’s Multiple Scan Provision

Multiple scans would be required for some areas of the body. Again, it’s because, to provide an appropriate diagnosis, the radiologist needs to examine the body parts from multiple angles.

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Of course, it takes more than one X-ray to see angles from different perspectives that will add to the radiologist’s workload, and images must be carefully examined to establish a diagnosis.

For example, if your concern is located in the abdomen or chest with multiple organs, you’ll probably require more than a single X-ray for an accurate image reading.

Thus, the more scans that are required, the more money you will spend.

4. X-Ray Facilities

Apart from the expenses of the X-rays and the persons who perform them, hospitals and other doctor’s clinics have additional costs that must be covered.

Naturally, power, water, necessary items, and maintenance are all included in these operating expenditures.

Of course, these utilities and services might cost thousands of dollars each year in larger facilities. So, health care facilities must compensate for the use of their property.

That said, hospitals may add an extra charge to each patient’s bill.

5. X-Ray Protective Gear Is Expensive

5. X-Ray Protective Gear Is Expensive

The necessary protective gear is another relevant expenditure that contributes to the overall cost of having an X-ray.

For example, since radiation is released every time an X-ray device is operated, it is harmful to human health.

So, protective gear and practices are utilized to keep everyone else in the area safe.

Naturally, you’ll be required to wear a lead vest around your torso during your X-ray, particularly if you’re of reproductive age, and the price of these safety protocols will add to your bill.

6. X-Ray Technicians And Other Professionals Involved

An X-ray technician will take the images during your X-ray, and an Associate’s degree is required for this job, and many employers prefer a Bachelor’s degree.

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Naturally, these employees are adequately compensated for their work due to the training and education required to become an X-ray technician.

In addition, a radiologist is another crucial individual when it concerns your X-rays. That said, a radiologist is a doctor who will examine your X-rays and then devise a treatment plan.

So, a portion of your X-ray fee will compensate the X-ray technician and radiologist for their time.

7. X-Ray Facility Location

The cost of your X-ray is partly determined by where it is performed, and it’ll cover your location in terms of city and state and the form of the X-ray facility you use.

Moreover, the facility has to charge extra to cover rent and other bills in places where property expenses are high.

So, when medical officers should be compensated more to continue living in a high-cost city, their expenses for X-rays are likely to rise.

8. X-Ray Machine Proper Care And Maintenance

X-ray scans are frequently a crucial initial step in diagnosing and initiating a treatment plan to enhance a patient’s health.

Furthermore, the revenue gained by the X-ray contributes significantly to a facility’s economic health.

However, if the technology isn’t performing correctly, it might negatively influence your imaging center’s operations and profits.

Overall, proper care and maintenance involve money for appropriate cleaning products and the person that will maintain the equipment.

Thus, contributing to the expensiveness of X-rays.

9. Patient’s Lack Of Insurance At The Time Of X-Ray Procedure

The cost of your X-ray will be determined by whether or not you have insurance; your employer usually provides health insurance.

In fact, you could have a selection of plans and coverage to choose from.

Thus, if you have comprehensive insurance, you may have to pay the co-pay or pay nothing if your deductibles for the year have been met.

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On the other hand, an X-ray might be a costly treatment if you don’t have insurance or if your insurance doesn’t cover everything.

10. The Use Of Digital X-Ray

Traditional X-rays, which use film to obtain images of the patient body’s internal parts, started in the early 1900s.

However, digital radiography has become a lot more efficient and an even safer practice of having diagnostic images since the development of computer technology.

So, while traditional X-rays are generally safe, digital X-rays emit 80% less radiation.

Still, keeping up with technology means spending more money, contributing to X-rays’ markup price.

11. X-Ray’s Different Procedure

X-ray has different procedures, and each has different charge rates. Therefore, what you will pay after an imaging test will depend on your procedure.

For example, an average single spine view costs around $200; likewise, if you want a full abdominal X-ray, expect to pay between $110 and $2,775.

So, your X-ray bill will depend on the type of procedure required with your concern.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why contacts are so expensive, why condoms are so expensive, and why Tazorac is so expensive.


X-rays are expensive because of the highly trained and professional individuals that perform the procedure and read the image for proper treatment.

Additionally, all the other things associated with the operation of X-ray machines all drive up to its expensiveness.


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