How Much Does an Ankle Replacement Cost?
An ankle replacement, medically known as an Arthroplasty, is usually done to treat severe pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or injury-induced arthritis. An ankle replacement is not nearly as common as a knee replacement, it is the same basic idea. An ankle replacement replaces the bone and cartilage in the ankle with an artificial joint (prosthetic) that is made of metal and plastic. This surgery is now becoming one of the top options for most patients who suffer from ankle injuries due to accidents or suffered because of old age.
How much does it cost?
- Like other ankle surgeries, the cost for ankle replacement depends on many different factors. These factors can include the reputation and skill of the doctor, the location of the hospital, your overall health, and the severity of your injury or condition. The average cost of an ankle replacement can be around $20,000 to as much as $40,000 or more. This price is what a patient usually pays without health insurance.
- As long as the surgery is deemed medically necessary, the ankle replacement surgery should be covered by your health insurance provider. Check with your provider to see exactly what is covered and for what you will be responsible. In most case, you will only have to pay your co-pay and deductible.
- According to BMIHealthCare.com, the ankle replacement surgery costs are covered by most medical insurance policies. The insurance will cover at least 30% of the total fee. This includes the doctor visit co-pays and surgery coinsurance.
- According to SurgeryOverseas.com, the price of ankle replacement surgery in the US can cost around $23,000 (excluding surgeon fee and other hospital payments). However, other countries have relatively cheaper prices. In the UK alone, the surgery can cost £11,000; that is, more or less 15,000 only. In Mexico, ankle joint replacement costs about $12,500. In addition, the price will be lessened up to $7,000 when the procedure is done in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Argentina.
What is going to be included?
- The surgery is done under general anesthesia (or spinal anesthesia if needed). The surgeon will make an incision and remove the damaged portions in the ankles. After this, the surgeon will reshape the remaining bone and places the artificial joint. He will use screws to ensure that the joint is held in place. The whole process usually takes 2-3 hours and requires the patient to stay in the hospital at least overnight.
- After the surgery has been done, the patient will need to follow the guidelines suggested by the doctor for faster recovery. This includes exercise, diet, and physical therapy.
What are the extra costs?
- Surgeon’s fee. Like most surgeries, the payment does not include the fee for the surgeon. It is known that the surgeon fees can amount to $5,000 or more.
- Rehabilitation after the surgery. It is suggested that you stay in the hospital after the surgery, but the hospital stay will be charged separately from the surgery. Each day of hospital accommodation means another expense.
- Crutches. You will need to employ the use of crutches after the surgery. You might use these for the first few months after the procedure. This costs about $15 to $40. However, if you prefer to use deluxe forearm crutches, expect to pay a hundred dollars or more.
- Physical Therapy/Exercise. It is common that your doctor will recommend exercises or therapy that you can do at home to speed up the recovery. The cost for a personal therapy session can be around $50 to $75. It can amount to a thousand dollars or more to finish the therapy.
Tips to know:
- It must be brought to mind that ankle replacement should only be considered as a last resort. If the pain-relieving drugs, physical therapy, braces, special shoes, changes in lifestyle, and other suggested treatments were not successful in relieving the ankle pains, then you should discuss a replacement with your doctor.
- The artificial ankle joint has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. With this in mind, it is possible that you will need another replacement in the future.
- Even though other countries may offer this surgery for less, it is sometimes a risk to the quality of care. Make sure you do a lot of research before making this decision.
Questions to ask:
- Am I a good candidate for ankle replacement surgery? If not, what are my other alternatives?
- Will my health insurance cover the costs of ankle replacement surgery?
- Are there possible complications from ankle replacement surgery that I should consider?
How can I save money?
- Even if there are costs for fare and accommodation, one might save money if he will perform the operation overseas. Just find a skilled orthopedic surgeon overseas that would help you out.
- Always make sure that your insurance company will cover some of the costs of the surgery. If you do not have any sort of health insurance, consider using websites such as eHealthInsurance.com to find the best policy in your area.