How much does an MRI cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does an MRI cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does an MRI cost?

$350 – $2,500 MRIcost without insurance (outpatient facility)
$500 – $6,000+MRI cost without insurance (hospital/inpatient facility)
$50 – $500+average MRI cost with insurance

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$350 – $2,500 MRI cost without insurance (outpatient facility)

$500 – $6,000+ MRI cost without insurance (hospital/inpatient facility)

$50 – $500+ average MRI cost with insurance

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Kristen Cramer
Written by
Kristen Cramer
Edited by
Sarah Noel

Average cost of MRI without insurance

An MRI costs $350 to $2,500 on average without insurance at an outpatient facility, depending on how much of the body the machine scans. MRI costs vary according to radiologist fees and insurance coverage. Different MRI fees apply at an imaging center, outpatient facility, or hospital.

Average MRI price without insurance
Facility Average cost (without insurance)
Imaging center / outpatient facility $350 – $2,500
Hospital / inpatient facility $500 – $6,000+

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by BetterCare members.

Ask for the discounted cash price if paying for an MRI without insurance. The cash price for patients without insurance is typically lower than what hospitals and imaging centers bill health insurance providers.

A radiological technician preparing a patient for an MRI scan.
A radiological technician preparing a patient for an MRI scan.
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MRI out-of-pocket cost by type

An MRI costs $350 to $12,000 out-of-pocket, depending on the type of scan. The following table shows the price for an MRI by type and body part for patients without insurance or with high deductibles.

MRI cash price by type and body part
MRI type Average cost (without insurance)
Brain / head $600 – $8,000
Neck / cervical spine $400 – $7,000
Chest / breast / cardiac $500 – $7,500
Back / full spine $500 – $7,500
Lower back / lumbar spine $400 – $6,500
Abdominal / pelvic $600 – $7,500
Lower extremities (hip, leg, knee, foot, ankle) $350 – $7,500
Upper extremities(shoulder, arm, hand, wrist) $350 – $7,000
Prostate $600 – $7,000
Full body $2,500 – $12,000

A head or brain MRI costs $600 to $8,000 without insurance. Head and brain MRIs provide images of the brain itself, along with the blood vessels, cranial nerves, skull bones, muscle, and connective tissues. A head MRI also shows the eyes and inner ears.

Doctors use a head and brain MRI to detect tumors, cysts, infections, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), bleeding in the brain, swelling or inflammation, pituitary gland disorders, and eye or inner-ear disorders.

Images from an MRI scan of the brain.
Images from an MRI scan of the brain.

Neck or cervical spine MRI

An MRI of the neck or cervical spine costs $400 to $7,000 without insurance. A cervical spine MRI can detect problems with the spinal cord, disks, nerves, or soft tissue in the neck.

Doctors may order a cervical MRI to evaluate pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness or diagnose tumors, infections, or inflammatory conditions in the area.

Chest, cardiac, or breast MRI

A chest or breast MRI costs $500 to $7,500 without insurance and provides images of the blood vessels, bones, muscles, organs, and other soft tissue in the chest.

Doctors may order a chest MRI to:

  • Detect and diagnose abnormal growths or tumors

  • Evaluate the progress or treatment of cancer

  • Show lymph nodes and blood vessels

  • Evaluate the heart's anatomy and function

  • Look for pericardial disease

  • Assess chest bone and soft tissue disorders

  • Clarify findings from CT scans, X-rays, or mammograms

A doctor may order a cardiac stress profusion MRI to examine the blood flow through the heart both at rest and under stress. To test the heart under stress, the technologist injects the patient with adenosine, which simulates the effect of physical exercise on the heart.

Back, lumbar, or spine MRIs

An MRI scan of the full spine or back costs $500 to $7,500 without insurance. The average cost is typically lower at $400 to $6,500 if only scanning the lower back, also called the lumbar spine.

An MRI of the back or spine helps doctors to pinpoint the cause of back or leg pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness. Doctors may also order a back MRI to diagnose infections or inflammatory conditions in the spinal vertebrae and surrounding tissues.

Abdomen or pelvis MRI

An MRI of the abdomen or pelvis costs $600 to $7,500 without insurance.

  • An abdominal MRI provides images of the liver, kidneys, pancreas, and other organs and structures in the belly region, as well as the lymph nodes and blood vessels.

  • A pelvic MRI shows internal organs between your hips, including the pelvic bones, reproductive organs, bladder, bowels, and lymph nodes.

An MRI of the lower extremities costs $350 to $7,500 without insurance. A doctor may order an MRI to examine the hip, leg, knee, ankle, or foot for these conditions:

  • Trauma to the ligaments and tendons

  • Labral or meniscus tears

  • Fractures or joint dislocations

  • Sports or work injuries

  • Injuries caused by repetitive movements or impact

  • Degenerative disorders like arthritis

  • Bone or joint tumors

  • Osteomyelitis or septic arthritis

A radiological technician preparing a patient for a leg MRI.
A radiological technician preparing a patient for a leg MRI.

Arm, hand, wrist, or shoulder MRI

An MRI of the upper extremities costs $350 to $7,500 without insurance. A doctor may order an MRI to examine the arm, hand, wrist, or shoulder for these conditions:

  • Trauma to the ligaments and tendons

  • Fractures or joint dislocations

  • Labral tears in the tissue surrounding the shoulder joint

  • Sports or work injuries

  • Strain caused by repetitive movements, impact, or vibration

  • Arthritis and other degenerative disorders

  • Tumors in the bones and joints

  • Infections such as osteomyelitis or septic arthritis

Full-body MRI {#full|

A full-body MRI costs $2,500 to $12,000 without insurance. A whole-body MRI is a useful screening tool for early diagnosis to help doctors detect cancer, blood vessel blockages, inflammatory conditions, bone and joint issues, and spinal disorders.

Prostate MRI

The cost of a prostate MRI is $600 to $7,000. An MRI is more accurate at detecting tumors in the prostate than other imaging methods. Doctors may recommend an MRI prior to a biopsy to ensure more accurate assessments than an ultrasound-guided biopsy.

MRI cost with insurance

The cost of an MRI with insurance is $50 to $500 on average but can reach $5,000 or more for patients with high deductibles. MRI costs vary significantly depending on your insurance plan, deductible, co-pay amount, and whether you have the scan at an in-network or out-of-network imaging facility.

Closed vs. open MRI cost

An open MRI costs about the same as a standard closed MRI, with prices ranging from $350 to $6,000+ depending on the facility and the body part being scanned.

Unlike a conventional MRI machine that confines patients in a tube-shaped "tunnel", an open MRI doesn't enclose the patient. Open MRIs are ideal for patients who are claustrophobic, obese, or have mobility issues due to age, illness, or injury. However, open MRIs produce lower-quality images than closed MRIs.

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A patient being scanned in an open MRI machine.
A patient being scanned in an open MRI machine.

Additional MRI scan cost factors

The following factors affect the cost of an MRI scan:

  • Inpatient vs. outpatient facility – MRI prices are lower at outpatient facilities like freestanding imaging centers than at hospitals and other inpatient facilities.

  • Procedure type – The body part and type of scan impact the number of images needed, which affects the final cost.

  • Contrast dye – An MRI with contrast dye costs $100 to $300 more than an MRI without it.

  • Sedation – Doctors may prescribe a mild sedative for patients who experience anxiety or claustrophobia. This additional medication costs $100 to $400.

  • Radiologist reading – The hospital or imaging facility may bill you separately for a radiologist to review your scan and interpret the results.

FAQs about MRIs

What is an MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a painless, noninvasive scanning technique that provides clear, detailed images of the body. An MRI machine uses powerful magnets and radio waves to capture images of organs, tissues, musculoskeletal system, blood vessels, and nerves.

What happens during an MRI?

During an MRI scan, you can expect the following:

  • Most MRI machines are tunnel-like tubes with openings at each end. You'll lie on a table called a scanning bed that automatically slides into the tube to position your body for the images.

  • The radiology technologist will be able to see you and talk with you throughout the scan via a two-way intercom system.

  • You should remain very still to ensure the images are clear, as even slight movements can cause them to blur. You may also be asked to briefly hold your breath to reduce movement.

  • For head or neck MRIs, the radiology technologist may position a special helmet-like device to hold your head in place.

  • You'll hear very loud, repetitive banging, thumping, and tapping noises during each series of scans as the magnets move. Many facilities provide earplugs or headphones for your comfort.

  • If your doctor orders an MRI with contrast, a nurse or technologist will prepare you ahead of time by inserting an IV in your arm. The technologist will inject the contrast dye immediately before the scan begins.

  • After the scan, a radiologist will review and interpret the images and prepare a report detailing the results.

Are MRIs covered by insurance?

MRIs are typically covered by health insurance if your doctor deems it medically necessary. However, you may have to meet your deductible before the insurance covers the cost of the scan. Contact your insurance provider for details.

Is an MRI safe?

An MRI is safe, painless, uses no radiation, and causes no tissue damage. However, because the device uses powerful magnets, individuals with metal implants may not be eligible for a scan.

Discuss your eligibility with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)

  • Insulin pump or drug infusion pump

  • Artificial limbs, joints, or heart valves

  • Metal implants, pins, screws, wires, or staples

  • Metal fragments, shrapnel, or bullets anywhere in your body

  • Cochlear implants

  • Catheter with metal components

  • Vascular (blood vessel) clips

  • Stents, filters, or vascular coils

  • Neurostimulation device

  • Body piercings

  • Tattoos or permanent makeup with metal ink

  • Breast expanders used after a mastectomy

  • Intrauterine device (IUD) for contraception

  • Possible metallic fragments near your eyes (common in people who do metalwork or welding)

If you are pregnant and within the first trimester, breastfeeding, or have kidney problems, you may not be eligible for an MRI with contrast dye.

When do doctors recommend an MRI?

Doctors typically order an MRI when they need more detailed images of your body to make an accurate diagnosis. An MRI provides a more comprehensive look at soft tissues than a CT scan or X-ray.

An MRI scan typically helps to diagnose:

  • Neurological conditions

  • Brain and spinal cord disorders

  • Heart, blood vessel, or other vascular conditions

  • Joint and musculoskeletal problems

  • Torn ligaments

  • Inflammatory diseases

  • Individual organ disorders

  • Breast abnormalities

  • Tumors, cysts, and cancers

A doctor may also order an MRI to monitor ongoing treatment, such as radiation or chemotherapy, or to evaluate the brain's language and motor-control centers.

What's the difference between a CT scan and an MRI?

MRI and CT scans are both medical imaging methods, but they use different technology:

  • A CT scan uses a series of X-rays with ionizing radiation to create images of bones, tissues, and organs. CT scans are useful in emergencies because they produce faster results.

  • An MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to generate images of your body. An MRI produces more detailed images and shows diseases a CT scan can't, such as prostate or uterine cancer.

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How long does an MRI take?

An MRI takes 15 to 90 minutes, depending on the size of the scanned area, the number of images the machine must capture, and whether or not the procedure includes contrast dye.

What to look for in an MRI scan or imaging facility

When selecting an MRI imaging facility near you, follow these guidelines:

  • Look for an imaging center that can see you quickly.

  • Ask your doctor for recommendations.

  • Confirm the facility has approval from the American College of Radiology.

  • Check that all radiologists and technicians are registered or board-certified in MRI.

  • Confirm the facility accepts your health insurance.

  • If getting an MRI scan without insurance, ask the facility for their discounted cash price.

  • Read online reviews from past patients.

  • Bring a copy of the prescription from your doctor or contact the facility to confirm they've received a digitally transmitted prescription.

Questions to ask before getting an MRI

Ask the MRI imaging facility these important questions when scheduling your appointment:

  • Do you accept my insurance?

  • What will my out-of-pocket cost be?

  • Will you use a standard or open MRI machine?

  • Does the MRI involve contrast dye?

  • Are there any safety issues that prevent my eligibility for an MRI?

  • How long will the MRI take?