The cost of a knee surgery can vary, depending on the hospital charges, location, type of surgery, duration of hospital stay, postoperative care, etc. The following HealthHearty write-up provides information on the average knee surgery cost.
Knee surgery can be categorized into knee replacement surgery and knee arthroscopy. Knee replacement surgery, which is also referred to as knee arthroplasty, is mostly performed on people affected by osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. It involves the complete or partial replacement of the knee bones with metal components. After the removal of the damaged cartilage, the ends of the bones and kneecap are lined with artificial surfaces. While the surface of the thigh bone is lined with metal, the ends of the shin bone are covered with plastic. A fast-curing bone cement (polymethylmethacrylate) is used for holding the knee implants in place.
Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure wherein the necessary repairs are carried out with the help of a small fiber optic camera that is inserted through a small incision. Arthroscopic surgery can be used for excision of torn ligaments or cartilage, especially in case of meniscus tear or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.
Cost of Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery replaces the diseased or worn-out bones from the knee area, often replacing them with metal plates and nuts, which are fixed using PMMA cement. A gap is kept between the plates, enabling the knee to move naturally again. It is a major surgical procedure and all the necessary tests are carried out before the surgery. Recovery from knee replacement surgery may take up to six weeks, after which the patient is able to walk again with the support of a cane.
The total cost of knee replacement surgery can be quite high, taking into consideration the following factors:
❒ Cost of diagnostic tests
❒ Cost of procedure
❒ Cost of drugs
❒ Cost of hospital stay
❒ Cost of postoperative therapy
Cost will also include the fees of the anesthesiologist, surgical assistants, physical therapists, etc. In 2008, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported that the average cost of total knee replacement surgery was $45,783, including a hospital stay of three to five days. In the U.S., the average hospital charge for a total knee replacement (TKR) is USD 49,500. Adding to the basic hospital charges, the in-patient charges of USD 7,500 puts the average cost of the total replacement surgery at USD 57,000. A partial knee replacement (PKR) will cost 10% – 20% less than a TKR. However, the cost could rise in certain circumstances.
The duration of hospital stay, time spent in the operating room, surgical approach, the type of implant used, and care needed for pre-existing medical conditions, are some of the factors that may affect the cost. Many diagnostic tests need to be conducted before the surgery. These include blood count tests which also check the blood clotting tendencies of the individual, along with other tests comprising X-rays, ECG, and blood pressure. The duration of hospitalization may range from a day to even a week, depending on the condition of the patient. Immediately after surgery, crutches or a walker is generally recommended. Simple knee exercises are prescribed after the surgery, as part of extensive physical therapy to ensure speedy recovery.
Cost of Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure which involves the use of an arthroscope, which is inserted through small incisions. Arthroscope is a small tube that comprises optical fibers and lenses. A mini-camera is attached to this device, which enables the doctors to view the interiors on a video monitor. These visuals guide the surgeons as they make the necessary repairs. Once the repairs are made, the arthroscope is taken out and the incisions are sutured. Knee arthroscopic surgery is used primarily for treating meniscus tears and anterior cruciate ligament injuries. The surgery doesn’t take too long, and the patient is usually discharged the same day. The cost of knee arthroscopy usually ranges from USD 7,000 to USD 15,000.
As this procedure does not require a long stay at the hospital, the costs are reduced considerably. However, the cost might be higher in private hospitals. Needless to day, the cost might increase with longer hospital stay. The cost includes hospital charges, anesthesia charges, and other expenses incurred on the drugs and other diagnostic procedures. The cost could go higher if any complications develop during the procedure. Though one may recover within 4 to 6 weeks, follow-up visits are required for monitoring the healing process. One may also have to go for physiotherapy sessions. Recovery is usually shorter in a younger person as compared to an older person.
On a concluding note, patients must ensure that they are covered by insurance as it can greatly reduce the burden associated with surgery costs or any other health-related expenses that may suddenly crop up. If the patient is above 35, then he must make sure that he has adequate insurance cover. Knee surgery cost may be high, but when it comes to health, it is best not to compromise.