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The 20 Most Expensive Surgeries You Can Get


Surgery is something that most people wish to avoid. This is not only because of the pain and discomfort that it causes but also because of the expense. Unfortunately, surgery is often the only solution to rectify a medical condition. The expense of surgery depends on a variety of factors. These include the complexity of the surgery, any parts that are needed, staffing for the surgical procedure, the stay in the hospital before and after surgery, and medication required during the recovery period. Therefore, the cost of surgery can rise to astronomic figures, and this is the reason that taking out medical insurance is so important. To give you some idea of the potential costs, here are the 20 most expensive surgeries you can get.

20. Gastric Sleeve - $16,500

Gastric sleeve surgery is a surgical option for those who need to lose weight. According to Ramsay Health Care, this procedure limits the amount you can eat by restricting the size of your stomach. The surgery can reduce the size of the stomach by as much as 75 percent. As you can eat less once this is fitted, those who have undergone such a procedure have substantial, long-term weight loss. This can also benefit many other aspects of their health that have suffered as a result of obesity.

19. Gastric Bypass - $25,000

Gastric bypass is another form of weight loss surgery that aims to produce significant and long-term weight loss in those who are clinically obese. In this surgery, the stomach is separated into a small upper pouch and a larger lower pouch. Both pouches are then connected to the small intestine. There are several different methods of performing this procedure. The surgery works in two ways. First, there is a smaller functioning stomach, and this means the patient can only eat small quantities of food following the surgery. Second, the stomach has altered physiology and physical response to food. This surgery is used predominantly to treat morbid obesity. However, it is also used to treat several comorbid conditions, such as sleep apnea, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.

18. Hip Resurfacing - $28,000

Hip resurfacing is an alternative to a hip replacement. Not only is this a cheaper option, but it is also less extreme and had a quicker recovery time. It is used to treat people who have suffered from conditions that have caused deterioration to the surface of the ball and joint in the hip. Instead of replacing the entire hip joint, this procedure simply involves the resurfacing of the hip joint and the head of the femur being reshaped and fitted with a metal cap; Many surgeons choose to perform this procedure if they do not think the condition of the hip is serious enough for a full hip replacement.

17. Angioplasty - $28,200

An angioplasty is a minimally invasive endovascular procedure that widens narrowed or obstructed arteries and veins and to treat conditions such as arterial atherosclerosis. It is known by many other names, including percutaneous transluminal angioplasty and balloon angioplasty. It involves a balloon being inserted into the artery or vein and then inflated to stretch the lining., thus allowing blood to flow freely despite narrowing and obstructions. This surgery is less expensive than some of the other heart surgeries, and this is predominantly due to the less-invasive nature of the procedure. The less invasive a procedure, the quicker the recovery time and the fewer the risks of complications. In turn, this means a shorter hospital stay.

16. Cornea Transplant - $30,200

It is possible to rectify several eye conditions with cornea transplants. WebMD describes the cornea as the clear, protective outer layer of the eye. Not only does this part of the eye aid vision, but it also acts as a barrier to dirt and germs. This procedure is expensive because of the precision required to complete the surgery and because of the follow-up appointments required. In some cases, this procedure is conducted while the patient is awake.

15. Knee Replacement - $35,000

In this procedure, the weight-bearing surfaces of the knee joint are replaced. Wikipedia says that it is possible to have either a full or a partial knee replacement. Common reasons why this procedure is performed include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ligament tears, cartilage defects, and meniscus tears. This surgery has a long recovery period of up to 12 weeks, and this is the reason that it is one of the most expensive surgeries.

14. Hip Replacement - $40,364

A hip replacement is one of the most common orthopedic surgeries. It is usually performed when the joint has suffered significant wear and tear, so the patient is in severe pain. Hip replacements are also performed following trauma to the hip joint and the head of the femur. There was once a long recovery period following this surgery, although current medical guidelines promote activity as soon as possible after surgery and this has reduced recovery times. This surgery costs significantly less in European countries, usually between $7,000 and $12,000, because surgery in the United States is some of the most expensive in the world.

13. Spinal Fusion - $110,000

Another expensive surgical procedure is spinal fusion. OrthoInfo describes this as a procedure in which the vertebrae are welded together to heal as one larger bone. The surgery is performed to correct problems with the vertebrae and disks, such as degenerative disk disease, fractured vertebrae, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, tumors, and herniated disks. It is an intricate procedure with a long recovery period, which accounts for the high cost of this surgery.

12. Heart Bypass - $123,000

A heart bypass is one of the most common heart procedures used to treat people with significant heart defects or serious health conditions. Although this is sometimes a planned procedure, it is also one that surgeons perform in emergency cases. The purpose of this surgery is to restore normal blood flow to a coronary artery with an obstruction. It involves creating an alternative channel for blood to flow freely with no obstructions.

11. Heart Valve Replacement -$170,000

There are various forms of heart valve replacement, including porcine, bovine, and synthetic options. Statista says that the average cost of these surgeries is around $170,000. Procuring a natural heat valve or creating a synthetic option contributes to some of the expense. Other factors that make this a costly surgery include the precision and complexity involved in the procedure and the length of the stay in hospital.

10. Tracheotomy - $205,000

A tracheostomy is a procedure that involves making an incision into the trachea and inserting a tube to take over breathing In the case of tracheostomies, it is not the surgery itself that creates the expense as this is relatively straightforward, says Healthcare Business & Technology. The reason this procedure is so expensive is that it is a procedure that is only performed on those who are seriously ill, and these people generally have extended hospital stays. It is the most expensive form of surgery that is not a transplant.

9. Pancreas Transplant - $347,000

The two most common reasons why a pancreas transplant is performed are renal disease and type 1 diabetes. However, other conditions and pancreatic trauma can also result in the need for a pancreas transplant. Complications, risks, and extended hospital stay mean that this surgery costs an average of $347,000. However, it is important to note that a pancreas transplant is often done in conjunction with a kidney transplant. In this case, the cost rises significantly to around $618,000.

8. Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant - $409,600

Of the two types of bone marrow transplants, this is the least expensive. This is because it uses the patient’s own bone marrow, so there is not the additional cost of bone marrow procurement from a donor. The other type of bone marrow transplant is an allogeneic bone marrow transplant. This used the bone marrow of a donor and it is significantly more expensive.

7. Kidney Transplant - $414,800

The complexity of the surgery, the potential risks, the preparation costs, organ procurement, and the hospital stay all contribute to the high cost of this type of surgery. At $414,800, this is the seventh most expensive form of surgery in the United States. Kidney transplants are performed on patients who are suffering from renal failure and for whom dialysis treatments are no longer an effective option. This surgery is sometimes performed on people who have suffered significant trauma to their kidney. It is possible to perform a kidney transplant using a kidney from a live donor as you can survive with one kidney.

6. Liver Transplant - $812,500

Liver transplants are a life-saving procedure that is performed on people diseased or injured liver, says the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. This is a serious and expensive operation that requires an extended hospital stay and has risks of many complications. There is also the cost of the procurement of a liver. Liver transplants that use a partial liver from a living donor can cost a little less as there is not the cost of the transportation of the organ as both the procurement and the transplant are usually performed within the same hospital.

5. Single Lung Transplant - $861,700

A single lung transplant is performed if only one lung is affected. Therefore, it is less common for chronic lung conditions, and it is generally performed following a significant trauma or as a result of a tumor in the lung. Although this surgery is cheaper than a double lung transplant, there is still a significant cost attached. This is predominantly because of the procurement of the organ, the long hospital stay, the risk of complications, and the complexity of the procedure.

4. Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplant - $892,700

There are two types of bone marrow transplant; allogeneic and autologous. An allogeneic bone transplant uses the bone marrow of a donor, while an autologous bone marrow transplant uses the patient’s own bone marrow. The most expensive of the two is the allogeneic bone transplant as there are expenses attached to finding a bone marrow donor and retrieving the bone marrow. With this type of bone marrow transplant, complications are common, and this can also increase the costs.

3. Intestine Transplant - $1,147,300

This procedure is often conducted to remove a large tumor or as a result of chronic intestinal disease. The intestinal transplant is intended to replace dead, damaged, or diseased tissue. In many cases, an intestinal transplant is performed alongside a procedure to another organ. It is another procedure that requires aftercare and an extended hospital stay.

2. Double Lung Transplant - $1,190,700

Lung transplants are the last resort for people with serious lung conditions, such as cystic fibrosis and emphysema. The length of the hospital stay required before and after this procedure contribute to the huge expense of a double lung transplant. Another cost is the procurement of the organs, as they are often transported over a significant distance by helicopter to get the lungs to the recipient in a good condition within a certain timeframe.

1. Heart Transplant - $1,382,400

According to Investopedia, the most expensive surgical procedure you can have is a heart transplant. Heart transplants are surprisingly common, and this is because heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. There are several reasons that this surgery is so expensive, such as the transportation of organs, the complexity of the surgery, and the extended hospital stay.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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