Factors deciding cost of appendectomy

Appendectomy Cost

Appendectomy or appendix surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the world. This Buzzle article provides information regarding the average cost of this procedure with and without insurance.
Did You Know?
According to a 2010 report generated by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the mean cost for a stay involving appendicitis came to about USD 7,800, and in case of a rupture of the appendix, the treatment costed USD 12,800 on an average. This is provided the patient has an insurance cover.

Appendix is the part of intestine at the end of the bowel. It is hollow, and its exact purpose in the body is not known. Inflammation of the appendix is called appendicitis. It is characterized by severe abdominal pain. Although pain can be controlled with medications, in some cases, a surgery may become inevitable. Men are more prone to appendicitis than women.

The Procedure

An inflamed or infected appendix often warrants the need for appendix removal through surgery. In the absence of a surgery, there is a risk that the appendix might rupture. The contents of the infected appendix may then get mixed into the bloodstream, which could be detrimental to the health of a person. To evade this situation, appendectomy surgery becomes a must. It can be performed using two techniques: the first one is the open procedure, while the other is laparoscopic surgery.

Open procedure involves making a large incision in the abdomen to remove the affected part. This is an invasive surgery, and carries the usual surgery risks like bleeding, infection, etc.

Laparoscopic surgery is less invasive and makes use of a device known as laparoscope. Several small incisions are made on the abdomen. One of these is used to insert a laparoscope. The other incisions are used to hold the abdominal tissue. The abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide so that the surgeons get enough room to perform the tissue manipulation.

Laparoscopic surgery involves lesser risks than the open surgery. However, at times, an open surgery may be prescribed for the patient rather than the laparoscopic surgery. The decision for the surgery can be made as an emergency measure.

The Cost

Appendectomy is a medium-complicated surgery that requires you to stay in the hospital for 2 to 5 days. The recovery time for laparoscopic surgery is lesser and demands a hospital stay of only 2 days. You can resume work after 4 to 6 weeks of rest.

Since the surgery involves hospital stay, you should expect a hefty medical bill at the end of your stay. Moreover, the surgery involves certain preoperative and postoperative tests, which can add to the bill. However, the good news is that your medical insurance is likely to cover a substantial part of it. If you are a Canadian citizen, then the cost of the procedure can be nil if you have an insurance. For US citizens, the exact cost would depend upon your individual insurance plan.

However, those without a health insurance are in for some financial trouble. The average cost of this surgery could be anywhere between USD 10,000 and USD 35,000 or more, depending upon various factors such as the type of surgery (open or laparoscopic) and whether there are complications involved. The cost of a laparoscopic surgery may elevate further.

Influencing Factors

The appendectomy cost would be possibly the highest at for-profit hospitals followed by non-profit ones. However, county hospitals would have the lowest charges. Also, Medicaid and uninsured patients would have to pay higher bills compared to private insurance holders. The total bill should include the fees for hospital stay, cost of surgery and surgical supplies, emergency room charges, and cost of anesthesia, imaging tests, medicine, and lab tests. The costs are also greatly influenced by your geographic location, hospital standard, facilities provided, and doctor's expertise. These factors can add or take about USD 10,000 from your medical bill.

Cost Disparity

Apparently, the cost of appendectomy ranges from a price as low as USD 1,529 to as much as USD 182,955, depending on the location. The average is around USD 33,000. These results were drawn by a research team belonging to the University of California, San Francisco, and the same was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

According to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the International Federation of Health Plans, the average cost of the surgery is nearly USD 28,000 across the country.

Appendectomy in India is a widely sought-after option these days owing to lower prices and world-class facilities provided. More and more people from Europe, Australia, and other nations are traveling to India for medical purposes. Needless to say, medical tourism in India is booming like never before. However, US travelers should check if the cost of surgery is indeed lesser than what you would pay for in the US, considering the airfare, accommodation charges, etc.

Thus, the cost of appendectomy is a major medical expense. A medical insurance can make a lot of difference to your financial situation; hence, always invest in one.
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