How Much Does Elbow Surgery Cost?

Severe elbow pain makes basic daily activities like bathing and dressing a challenge, let alone pastimes like golf, tennis, swimming, or gardening. If you’re considering elbow surgery, you likely have questions: Is there a natural alternative? Is elbow surgery painful? And how much does an elbow surgery cost? The answer to each question depends upon the nature of the injury and the type of surgery required to repair it.

Factors Affecting Elbow Surgery Cost

Many factors account for the average cost of elbow surgery. Your insurance coverage significantly affects the costs you will face, as does the type of surgery you need. Minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery is a more sophisticated and expensive technique than open surgery. However, because arthroscopy is less damaging and painful, patients are typically discharged more quickly, thereby reducing the overall costs of the procedure.

The costs of elbow surgery also include the surgeon’s fees, anesthesia fees, and facility fees. These costs then depend upon the surgeon’s expertise, experience, and board certifications, as well as the type of facility. A full hospital will be more expensive than an outpatient surgical center, and geographical location matters as well.

When investigating how much elbow surgery costs, you must also factor in the costs of imaging, lab work, pain techniques and medications, and physical therapy.

Average Cost Ranges for Different Procedures

The average cost of elbow surgery for many common procedures varies widely. Depending upon the nature of the injury and the type of surgery planned to repair it, tennis elbow surgery can cost well over $40,000 before accounting for potential infections, scarring, lost work, or complications.

The cost of any specific elbow surgery will be impacted by the factors described above, as well as the patient’s age, general state of health, and any problems that arise.

Insurance Coverage and Out-of-Pocket Expenses

If you have insurance, the share of the cost you’ll pay should be much lower than the cash prices discussed above. But the details of your specific insurance policy make an enormous difference. Your policy likely covers more for medically necessary procedures than for elective surgeries, if the latter are covered at all. Contact your insurance carrier to discuss the specifics of your planned surgery and insurance coverage.

When analyzing your insurance coverage, you will need to learn about the following costs:

  • Your deductible: This is the amount of out-of-pocket you pay before the insurance starts paying.
  • Your copay: This is the fixed amount you must pay for the specific procedure.
  • Your coinsurance: This is the percentage of the costs you must pay after meeting your deductible.

To minimize your out-of-pocket expenses, ensure your surgeon and facility are in-network, and seek prior authorization for the procedure from your insurance carrier.

Financing Options for Elbow Surgery

If you think that the cost of surgery might be prohibitive, there are financing options that can help you pay.

Medical loans are unsecured personal loans used only to pay medical care costs. Banks, credit unions, and online lenders offer medical loans, with the costs and terms based on your credit score.

Another payment option is a medical credit card, like CareCredit. These credit cards can be used for one-time medical costs or ongoing treatments. Interest rates are high, so choose wisely.

To further mitigate the costs, investigate whether supplementary insurance policies or health savings accounts (HSAs) can be used to cover any portion. Also, consider asking about payment options or financial assistance programs offered by the surgical center.

Another way to maximize your savings is to hire a medical billing advocate, a professional expert who reviews your medical bills line by line to search for any billing errors or irregularities (both common and expensive). Some services only charge you a percentage of the money they save you.

Discover Non-Surgical Elbow Treatments at QC Kinetix

After learning how much elbow surgery costs, many are eager for non-surgical alternatives. QC Kinetix specializes in regenerative treatment for elbow pain that bypasses surgery, drugs, scarring, lost work time, and extensive recovery. Our biologic treatments harness your body’s natural healing mechanisms and direct them to the source of your pain. Our treatments are designed to help alleviate elbow pain, improve mobility, and restore function so you can reclaim your quality of life.

Learn why regenerative medicine works for tennis elbow and other painful elbow conditions. Then, contact your local QC Kinetix clinic for your free consultation to learn what regenerative healing can do for you.

Elbow Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

How painful is elbow surgery recovery?

After elbow surgery, expect pain and stiffness for the first few weeks. The most severe pain begins to subside after the first two weeks.

How long is the recovery time after elbow surgery?

Recovery times following elbow surgery vary by the procedure and the individual. However, most people can resume daily activities within two to six weeks. Most people return to work in three to 12 weeks. In four to six months, a return to sports is often possible, although using a brace for some activities may be required.

Are you awake during elbow surgery?

Depending upon the procedure, the surgeon, and the patient, elbow surgery may be performed using general anesthesia or a nerve block. When a nerve block is used, the patient remains awake but pain-free.

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