Brain scans for headaches cost $1 billion a year

ATsai Editor
  • About one in eight patients with migraine or headache receives a brain scan, adding up to $1 billion annual cost, according to new research from the University of Michigan.

     

    The rate of brain scans for migraine or headache pain is increasing, despite specific guidelines discouraging physicians from this practice. Between 2007 and 2010, 51.1 million headache-related visits occurred, with 12.4 percent of these visits resulting in a brain MRI or CT. Based off Medicare costs, the researchers determined these four-year scan totals are estimated at $3.9 billion, or roughly $1 billion per year.

     

    So why is the number increasing? Patients may be taking their health into their own hands by demanding scans from their doctors. Or, researchers also suggested, doctor may order scans to ease patients’ fears and anxieties about potential conditions.

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Published On: March 26, 2014