Does urgent care do X-rays?

Does urgent care do X-rays?

Accidents can occur at any time, such as broken bones after falling off a bike or a child swallowing something that they shouldn’t. One of the best ways that medical professionals can diagnose the issue and work out a treatment plan is to perform an X-ray. You may even need an X-ray for an illness such as pneumonia or cancer so that doctors can see where the virus or disease has spread.

It’s important that you receive suitable care as quickly as possible so that you can get the treatment and medication that you need. However, you may be wondering where you can get an X-ray, especially if you have been advised to get one urgently.

Many people would automatically want to go to the nearest hospital to get an X-ray, but this could end up costing you more money than alternative options. Luckily, there are some options to consider when looking for a radiology department that could save you time and money in the long run.

Does Urgent Care do X-rays?

There are Urgent Care facilities throughout the country that will accept walk-in appointments for individuals suffering from injuries and illnesses that require immediate attention but don’t necessarily need to go to the ER. Urgent Care facilities offer treatment to patients without the need for an appointment; which will help you to get assessed quickly and receive the treatment you need.

X-rays are usually covered by healthcare providers, which includes the cost of the digital X-ray and the report. However, the Urgent Care center may advise that you need additional tests such as an MRI or CT scan; which will take more time and will cost you more money. In this instance, you may be referred to another hospital that can offer you an appointment for these follow-up scans.

Continue reading to find out why you may need an X-ray, as well as what you can expect from the process and what an average Urgent Care visit for an X-ray will cost.

Why are X-rays necessary?

It can be difficult for medical professionals to properly identify the cause and treatment of your illness or injury as they may not always cause visible symptoms. X-rays help to diagnose internal issues such as broken bones, cancer and tooth decay without using invasive techniques. The imaging services are quick to use and are relatively harmless; as long as you aren’t subjected to repeated x-rays in a short space of time.

X-rays can also help guide medical professionals when they are performing surgery as the scan will produce a clear image that indicates where to insert devices inside the patient. X-rays illuminate bones in white, which can help to show any breaks or joint dislocations. They also show up any trapped gases or liquids as dark patches; which can help to diagnose tumors, infections and diseases.

X-rays can monitor the progression of a virus or disease and its effects on your body. They can also show how well the treatment is working and whether alternative methods would prove more beneficial.

What happens during an X-ray?

get an X-ray

Doctors will ask you to remove any jewelry, glasses or piercings; as well as clothing that may get in the way of the X-ray. They will then ask you to stand or lie in a certain position; depending on which body part they are taking images of. It’s important to tell your primary care doctor if you are pregnant or have any medical conditions; that might disrupt the scan because they may need to do alternative tests.

Young children may be strapped down so that they don’t move during the scan. You might be able to stay in the room if your child is getting an X-ray; although you will have to stand behind a screen or wear a lead apron to protect you against the rays.

The X-ray machine projects a beam of radiation into the area of your body that highlights your bones in the image. The bones are able to absorb some of the radiation; whereas the rays pass straight through muscle and fat which is why they don’t show up in the image. These images can take a few minutes to a couple of hours depending on the complexity of the issue.


Should I go to ER or Urgent Care for an X-ray?

Many people think that they should go straight to medical emergency rooms whenever they have an urgent medical issue. However, Emergency Rooms can get very busy, which means that you will likely have a long wait for an X-ray. It can mean waiting for several hours before you are seen; whereas most Urgent Care facilities will be able to see you within the hour.

There is a big difference between the cost of an Urgent Care and an Emergency Room visit; even if you end up receiving the same treatment. Procedures tend to cost more at hospitals than at independent practices; which is why it’s worth doing your research before you decide on which facility to go to. Whilst an X-ray at ER could cost between $200 to $400; the same procedure at an Urgent Healthcare provider could cost under $200.

It’s a good idea to ask your doctor for the procedure code so that you can quote it to your insurance provider so that they can confirm how much of the fee you are responsible for paying and how much they will cover. They should also be able to tell you if they have a deductible and therefore how much you need to pay before your provider will cover the remaining cost of the medical bills.

Urgent Care centers can help you with more minor concerns, but you should go to the ER if you have symptoms that are more dangerous such as chest pain or a loss of consciousness. An ER can provide more care in cases where your illness or injury needs extensive treatment, whereas Urgent Care services are more limited.

What are the different types of X-rays?

There are various types of X-rays that serve different purposes. This includes chest X-rays that your doctor may order if you are experiencing chest pain or have trouble breathing. Chest X-rays can highlight issues such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and cancer, amongst other infections and diseases.

Other types of X-rays include abdominal, kidney, ureter and bladder, and joint X-rays. Abdominal X-rays can show issues in the stomach, intestines and spleen. They can highlight objects that have been swallowed; as well as blockages caused by kidney stones or damage to the abdominal tissue.

Kidney, ureter and bladder (KUB) X-rays can highlight changes to the shape and positions of these organs; whilst joint X-rays can highlight issues such as arthritis, gout and osteoarthritis.

The doctor may place cushions around your body to position you in the best way. They may also ask you to hold your breath so that the image is clear.


Urgent Care offers X-rays to walk-in patients; which often works out as a quicker and cheaper alternative to getting an X-ray. They are a standard procedure that is usually covered by healthcare insurance, although it’s worth checking with your provider to see if they will cover the full amount or only partial coverage.

It’s important to get an X-ray if a medical professional recommends it because the internal issue could cause more problems if it is left untreated. X-rays will help your doctor to prescribe the right medication and treatment, as well as perform surgery if needs be.

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