How Much Does Gallbladder Surgery Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

Did you know that getting your gallbladder removed is one of the most common procedures done throughout the world?

Getting your gallbladder removed is actually a fairly simple procedure that shouldn’t take more than a few hours.  The recovery time in the hospital isn’t that long either, only requiring a one or two day stay.  The surgery is done to treat gallstones that may cause symptoms.

How much is the cost of gallbladder surgery?

In the United States of America, the typical surgery is going to range anywhere from $11,500 to as much as $50,000 without insurance and no complications.  We were able to call up six hospitals across the United States and was able to receive an “estimate” over the phone.  With this study, we acted as if we had no health insurance policy.

For example, a clinic located in Chicago, IL charges $9,800 for the entire surgery.  A hospital located in Texas charges $22,000 for the entire surgery.  Geographical location can greatly affect the price of the surgery.

With insurance, the price is going to depend on many variables such as the deductible, co-pays and more.  Consult with your insurance company as well as the hospital to get a fairly good idea on what it will cost you. noted the expenses he was billed.  In total, he was able to pay $10,000 after negotiating with the hospital.

StatePrice Range
New Jersey$42,000
North Dakota$17,000

Gallbladder surgery overview

A hospital stay may be required depending on the complication.  This may or may not be added on top of the price of the surgery price.  A procedure, such as laparoscopic surgery, may only require a 12-hour stay.  Regardless of the procedure, it shouldn’t take longer than two hours to perform and is an outpatient procedure.

There are two common procedures:  laparoscopic and open. The laparoscopic method won’t cut into the abdominal muscles and tends to be less painful, while an open procedure will be more invasive.

Before the procedure even begins, your blood will be drawn to make you’re an eligible candidate. During the procedure, a slight incision will be made in the abdomen.   After this incision has been made, the abdomen will be inflated with air so the surgeon can see clearly.  Inserting a scope that is attached to a video camera, the surgeon will use a video monitor to guide the instruments to make incisions to the gall bladder.  Once the incision has been made, the gall bladder will be removed.

What are the extra costs?

Each hospital will have its own billing policy, but be prepared to pay separate fees for the operating surgeon, ER doctor, a pathologist, anesthesiologist and radiologist.

After the surgery is completed, medication may have to be prescribed.  This is going to be outside of your surgery costs.  The pricing for medication is going to vary depending on if you have insurance or not.

If the surgery is complex, an overnight hospital stay may be required.  On average, it costs up to $1,000 – $2,000 alone to stay overnight in a hospital without insurance.

Tips to know:

Common side effects that happen after the surgery may include things such as pain in your shoulder, muscle aches, diarrhea and some minor inflammation.  It can take up to two weeks to go back to normal activities.

While it’s a low-risk surgery, some of the risks involved with this type of surgery may include internal bleeding, infection or small intestine injuries.

What should you expect after gallbladder surgery?  After the surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room for observation.  Here, they will take your vital signs and make sure you’re healthy enough to go home.  Once you’re given the go-ahead, you will be given instructions on how to care for your incisions, your limits and what you should do to recover properly.  Depending on your situation, it can take up to six weeks to resume normal activities.

What can you eat after gallbladder surgery?  Try to avoid anything fatty or spicy such as high-fat meats, cheese, pizza, butter or creamy soups.

How can I save money?

Talk with a doctor to explore other options.  There can be alternatives that may not require surgery itself.  Be sure to always talk with your family doctor before deciding on the surgery itself.

Highly consider going to another country.  Countries, such as India and Mexico, can save you at least 80%.  If you do decide to go this route, be sure to do so at your own risk.

Check with local hospitals to see if they offer some sort of financial program.  For those that meet certain income requirements, the hospital may be able to knock a percentage off the total bill.  Cash discount options may also be available to those that pay up front with cash.

Check with your local state to see if you qualify for Medicaid.  If your family meets certain requirements, the state may be able to pick up the bill for you.

Cash paying patients without insurance can often save 30 to 40 percent off their bill.

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