Full body

Full body medical imaging scans 101

We only have one body, and we need to take care of it the best way we can. A full-body scan is a diagnostic imaging tool meant to identify abnormalities in the body. The goal is to catch any issues early before they can develop further.

Research shows that the cancer incidence rate in the United States has increased 1.8% every year since 2001. The best way to increase the chances of cancer survival is to catch cancer, tumors, and other malignances early.

Most scans are diagnostic in nature and are limited to specific areas of the body; a doctor will order one if you're experiencing pain, discomfort, abnormal symptoms, or after an injury. But a full-body scan is a preventive health measure that allows you to take on a proactive role in your own health and wellness.

Reasons for getting a full body scan

A full-body scan may be beneficial if you've been in a recent accident and your doctor needs a full assessment of the damage. However, having a full-body scan doesn’t only need to be done only in the event of an injury. If you're treating an ongoing medical issue, a full-body scan is a useful way to see how your body is responding to treatment. A full-body scan is yet another way for you to take control of your health. We know the importance of yearly physicals to monitor and assess how our body is functioning. But a physical exam can only evaluate the outside of the body. Unless we have palpable growths that can be felt through the skin, there is no way of knowing if there are deeper internal problems. So it's pretty remarkable that a full-body scan can assess you for 362 potential conditions. If there is an abnormality inside the body, you may not experience symptoms immediately. A full-body scan will be able to detect any tumors, cysts, pinched nerves, arthritis, and other ailments before they have a chance to get worse.

What does a full-body scan show?

A full-body scan will show all of the critical areas of the body, including the:

  • Head and brain
  • Neck
  • Spine
  • Abdomen
  • Pelvis
  • Legs
  • Foot and ankle

A full-body scan will show these areas in detail and be able to pinpoint any areas of inflammation, degeneration, abnormal cell growth, and other soft tissue and bone disorders. The information gathered from a full-body scan will give your doctor additional insight into your overall health.

Common diagnoses associated with full body scans

Several different diagnoses can be made from a full-body scan. These include:

  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pinched nerves
  • Herniated discs
  • Fractures
  • Spinal cord compression
  • Infection
  • Cancer
  • Heart
  • Breasts

These are only a fraction of the 362 medical conditions a full-body scan can check.

Full body scans for pain

Pain is a major driving force behind doctor's appointments and medical imaging scans, especially if the pain is unexplained or is getting worse. If you're experiencing pain, numbness in parts of your body, or general discomfort, a full-body scan can help you find the source and develop a targeted, effective treatment plan with your physician.

Full body CT scan

A full-body CT scan will allow doctors to see:

  • Bones
  • Cartilage
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Muscles
  • Organs
  • Other soft tissue structures

A computerized tomography (CT) full-body scan takes thinly sliced images of the body across three different planes. A computer will put these images together to get a 3D view of your body. CT scans are able to pick up many abnormalities that could be causing you pain or discomfort. They can also detect other issues, like tumors, cysts, cell degeneration, and other conditions that should be addressed sooner rather than later.

Full body MRI scan
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) full-body scan is similar to a CT scan and captures images of the body across three planes:
  1. Axial: from the top down.
  2. Sagittal: from one side to the other.
  3. Coronal: from front to back.
A full-body MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves instead of a concentrated X-ray beam to generate the images. The resulting images contain the same bones, organs, and soft tissue structures that you see on a CT scan. However, an MRI can show these in much greater detail. This makes them more adept at detecting harder-to-see issues like blood clots, pinched nerves, or ruptured bursae.
How much does a full-body scan cost?
A full-body scan may cost approximately $4000 to $6500, depending on which type of scan you receive. However, the price can fluctuate depending on your insurance coverage, insurance copay, and the facility where you receive your scan.
Find a full body medical imaging center near me
If you've been referred to receive a full-body medical imaging scan or are looking to add a scan to your preventive health routine, check out scan.com’s scan search tool. The easy-to-use guide can help connect you with a diagnostic imaging center near you.
Resources:
  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/johncumbers/2021/03/24/the-latest-quantified-self-trend-whole-body-mri/?sh=15b431946d5c
  2. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5008738/
  4. https://www.genesishealth.com/app/files/public/39462ab9-6f47-43dc-8357-31cbcc872873/PriceTrans-Radiology-AveragePrices.pdf

FAQs

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A full-body scan usually takes 60 to 90 minutes, but can vary depending on the quality of the images produced. If there are blurred images, the scan may need to be repeated.

Before your scan, you will need to remove all metal objects, including jewelry and piercings, and change into a hospital gown. You may also need to fast for a few hours before your procedure.

No, you don’t need a referral to get a full-body scan. However, many insurance companies require a referral before they will share the cost of the scan with you.