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X-ray: Procedures, Pricing, Risks, Aftercare Tips and FAQs

X-rays are a commonly used medical imaging technology that can help diagnose a range of health conditions. Whether you're experiencing chest pain, joint problems, or other symptoms, your doctor may recommend an X-ray to get a better look at what's going on inside your body. But what exactly are X-rays, and how do they work? What are the risks associated with X-rays, and how much do they typically cost in Hong Kong?
Author Bowtie Team
Date 2023-06-28
Updated on 2023-03-10
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What is an X-ray examination?X-Ray by Body Part: What Conditions Can They Diagnose?Procedures of X-ray ExaminationRisks and complications of X-rayPrecautions before an X-ray examinationPost-examination precautions X-ray Pricing at Hospitals and ClinicsWhat types of insurance covers X-ray?How to claim?FAQs about X-ray

What is an X-ray examination?

An X-ray examination is a medical imaging technique that uses X-rays to generate images by measuring the differential absorption of X-rays by different body tissues. It is used to detect, diagnose, and monitor diseases or injuries. It can be used to diagnose various diseases, including pneumonia, tuberculosis, and chest trauma.

The principle of X-rays is based on the differential absorption of X-rays by materials of different densities, resulting in images with varying degrees of contrast. When X-rays pass through the human body, certain areas of cellular tissue absorb more X-rays, while other areas absorb less or almost none. This differential absorption allows the generation of images with varying brightness and shapes.

X-Ray by Body Part: What Conditions Can They Diagnose?

Head X-ray

Diagnosable conditions:

Skull fractures, cerebral hemorrhage, brain tumors, hydrocephalus, encephalitis, sinusitis, etc.

Suitable for individuals:

  • Patients with head trauma, such as falls or accidents
  • Developed symptoms like headaches, dizziness, or impaired consciousness occur and further investigation is required
  • Suspected presence of foreign objects or tumors in the head
  • Examination before and after oral and dental surgery

Duration:

Approximately 10 to 20 minutes

Chest X-ray

Diagnosable conditions:

Pneumonia, emphysema, bronchitis, tuberculosis, lung cancer, etc.

Suitable for individuals:

  • Long-term smokers
  • Individuals with a family history of lung cancer
  • Those who have had lung infections or other lung diseases in the past

Duration:

Approximately 10 to 15 minutes

Abdominal X-ray

Diagnosable conditions:

Gastrointestinal perforation, intestinal obstruction, gastroenteritis, gastric ulcers, cholecystitis, etc.

Suitable for individuals:

Patients with suspected abdominal organ abnormalities or injuries

Duration:

Approximately 15 to 30 minutes

Spinal X-ray

Diagnosable conditions:

Osteoporosis, spinal fractures, dislocations, deformities, tumors, etc.

Suitable for individuals:

  • Individuals with suspected spinal problems
  • Some people may undergo examinations after accidents or injuries

Duration:

Approximately 15 to 30 minutes

Limb X-ray

Diagnosable conditions:

Fractures, joint dislocations, arthritis, soft tissue injuries, etc.

Suitable for individuals:

  • Individuals experiencing arm or leg pain and swelling due to accidents, falls, or impacts
  • Individuals with arthritis or other joint disorders
  • Individuals suspecting fractures or bone fractures
  • Individuals suspecting osteoporosis
  • Individuals experiencing discomfort or pain during exercise

Duration:

Approximately 15 to 30 minutes

What are contrast agents? What are their principles and effects?

X-ray contrast agents (also known as radiographic contrast agents) are used to enhance the contrast of images and improve the visibility of internal structures in imaging techniques. Healthcare professionals can administer contrast agents orally or through intravenous injection.

Procedures of X-ray Examination

  1. Before the examination: The doctor or healthcare professional will inquire about the patient’s medical history, physical condition, and pregnancy status, among other information. The patient may be required to change into a hospital or clinic-provided gown and shoe covers.
  2. During the examination: The patient will need to stand or lie down while the technician helps adjust their position for capturing the desired area. The technician will then move away from the radiation source and activate the X-ray machine to take the images.
  3. After the examination: The patient can change back into their own clothes. The doctor will review the X-ray results and determine if further treatment or follow-up examinations are necessary.

Risks and complications of X-ray

Under high doses, X-ray may slightly increase the risk of developing cancer. However, in general, the radiation dose received during an X-ray examination is very low and does not have any significant harmful effects on the body. Therefore, when used appropriately, X-ray remains a safe and effective diagnostic tool.

Precautions before an X-ray examination

Before undergoing an X-ray, it is important to remove any metal items, such as watches or necklaces, and unfasten clothing with metal buttons.

Post-examination precautions

After receiving an X-ray examination, it is advisable to drink plenty of water to promote the elimination of any radioactive substances from the body. It is also recommended to avoid prolonged exposure to radiation. If there are any discomfort or concerns, it is important to consult with a doctor.

X-ray Pricing at Hospitals and Clinics

Head X-ray
Hospital/ClinicPricing
Hong Kong Baptist HospitalFrom HK$560
Gleneagles HospitalFromHK$720
CUHK HospitalFromHK$520
Hong Kong Sanatorium & HospitalFrom HK$420
St. Paul’s HospitalFrom HK$400
Canossa HospitalFrom HK$310
Evangel HospitalFrom HK$240
The Specialists Health Check and Diagnostic Imaging CentreFrom HK$400
Chest X-ray
Hospital/ClinicPricing
Hong Kong Baptist HospitalFrom HK$280
Gleneagles HospitalFrom HK$360
CUHK HospitalFrom HK$260
Hong Kong Sanatorium & HospitalFrom HK$420
Union HospitalFrom HK$260
St. Paul’s HospitalFrom HK$200
Canossa HospitalFrom HK$310
Evangel HospitalFrom HK$240
The Specialists Health Check and Diagnostic Imaging CentreFrom HK$200
Abdominal X-ray
Hospital/ ClinicPricing
Hong Kong Baptist HospitalFrom HK$280
Gleneagles HospitalFrom HK$360
CUHK HospitalFrom HK$260
Hong Kong Sanatorium & HospitalFrom HK$420
Union HospitalFrom HK$520
St. Paul’s HospitalFrom HK$200
Evangel HospitalFrom HK$240
Spinal X-ray
Hospital/ ClinicPricing
Hong Kong Baptist HospitalFrom HK$560
Gleneagles HospitalFrom HK$720
CUHK HospitalFrom HK$520
Hong Kong Sanatorium & HospitalFrom HK$420
Union HospitalFrom HK$780
St. Paul’s HospitalFrom HK$400
Canossa HospitalFrom HK$310
Evangel HospitalFrom HK$240
Limb X-ray
Hospital/ ClinicPricing
Hong Kong Baptist HospitalFrom HK$560
Gleneagles HospitalFrom HK$720
CUHK HospitalFrom HK$260
Hong Kong Sanatorium & HospitalFrom HK$420
St. Paul’s HospitalFrom HK$400
Canossa HospitalFrom HK$310
Evangel HospitalFrom HK$240
  • *Pricing is collected on March 15th, 2023. The ward class was either outpatient or general ward.

What types of insurance covers X-ray?

Bowtie Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme provides coverage for “Diagnostic Examinations” which are medical tests recommended by your attending registered doctor based on your symptoms. X-ray are covered under the “Miscellaneous Charges” category of the VHIS plans. It’s important to note that the coverage limits may vary for different plans. The table below shows the annual coverage limits for different levels of Bowtie VHIS plans:

StandardFlexi (Regular/ Plus)Bowtie Pink
Miscellaneous Charges, including Ultrasound and X-ray^HK$14,000 / YearRegular:

HK$18,000 / Year

Plus:

HK$26,000 / Year

Full Coverage#

In addition to Miscellaneous Charges, Bowtie VHIS Plans also covers other surgical expenses, such as surgeon fees, attending doctor ward rounds fees, anesthesiologist fees, operating room fees, ward and meals, and more!

Which Bowtie VHIS plan is a fit for you?

  • ^ The coverage only includes relevant tests conducted during hospitalization and day surgery.
  • # Bowtie Pink Voluntary Health Insurance series fully compensates for qualified medical expenses, including diagnosis, hospitalization, surgery, and prescribed non-surgical cancer treatments (excluding the United States), subject to annual and lifetime coverage limits. If a claim involves hospitals in mainland China outside the designated hospital list or high-end hospitals within the designated hospital list in mainland China, exceeds the designated ward class, or involves pre-existing conditions prior to enrollment, the compensation amount may be adjusted accordingly.

Get Instant Personalised Quote

Bowtie offers a premium calculator that allows you to estimate your monthly premium for VHIS based on factors such as age, gender, and smoking habits:

Bowtie VHIS Plan (Standard/ Flexi) Premium Calculator

Bowtie Pink VHIS Premium Calculator

How to claim?

Claims Process

Bowtie’s voluntary health insurance claims process is simple and straightforward. Here are the steps:

  • Prepare the required documents
  • Log in to your Bowtie account and apply for the claim (click on the “Log in to Claim” button on the left)
  • Answer a few questions about the medical examination
  • Submit your bank details
  • Upload the required documents
  • Wait for approval
  • Receive your compensation

What documents are needed for the claim?

You will need to prepare the following three documents to successfully apply for the claim:

  • Hospital compensation application form filled and signed by the doctor
  • Original hospital receipt
  • All pathology reports

Private hospitals usually have hospital compensation application forms for different insurance companies. As long as you let the doctor know which medical insurance you have bought, they will have experience in filling out the form. It is recommended to prepare a list of your medical insurance coverage for the doctor’s reference.

How long does it take to receive compensation after applying for the claim?

The time required for each claim depends on the complexity of the case. About 80% of cases are approved within 10 working days, and the compensation amount will be transferred to your designated bank account within 3 working days after successful approval.

  • #Data as of October 2021

FAQs about X-ray

How long should the interval be between two X-ray?

According to the FDA, there is no specific answer to how many X-ray can be done within a certain period of time. It is recommended to consult a doctor before each examination.

What is the difference between an X-ray and a CT scan?

Compared to an X-ray examination, a CT scan can provide more detailed and comprehensive images and can visualise deeper structures and smaller tissue changes. However, CT scans involve higher radiation doses and require longer scan times and more expensive equipment.

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