How Much Does Hand Surgery Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

It’s no secret your hands are important to your everyday well being.  Problems with your hands may cause impairment, severely impacting your quality of life.

A variety of surgical procedures designed for the hand are available and range anywhere from traumatic injuries to infections, arthritis, carpal tunnel, trigger fingers, ganglions, tumors and tendonitis.  While surgery may be required sometimes, potential patients should also know non-surgical options are out there as well.

William’s broken finger by johntrainor, on Flickr
William’s broken finger” (CC BY 2.0) by johntrainor

How much does hand surgery cost?

The cost of hand surgery will depend on the type of surgery performed and where it’s being performed.  Regardless of the procedure being performed, hand surgery can cost anywhere from as little as $1,800 to more than $25,000 once the facility fee, doctor’s fee and x-rays are factored in.  Non-surgical options can be less than $10,000, while complicated surgery can be close to $20,000 or so.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is probably the most popular condition where surgery is needed.  This is a condition that causes pressure on the median nerve at the wrist, and the usual cost for this type of surgery can cost anywhere $2,000 to $5,500 depending on the hospital and surgeon.

Another condition is carpometacarpal bossing, a condition where a small immovable protuberance causes a certain joint to become swollen.  This surgery can cost $2,000 to $4,000.

For aging people, a condition known as rheumatoid arthritis can occur — a chronic systemic inflammatory disorder which can affect tissue and organs in the hand.  Rheumatoid arthritis surgery can run anywhere from $3,000 to $5,500.

Dupuytren’s Contracture is a hand disorder that disables the hand.  This is a thick scar tissue that bands the palm, extending to the fingertip, which may allow the hand to have restricted movements.  This surgery can cost $11,000 to $18,000 for radiation treatments alone.

Reconstructive hand surgery can cost as little as $700 to more than $4,500, depending on the severity of the surgery.

New Choice Health proclaims the national average for wrist/hand repair is $10.300.

Hand surgery overview

Most of the time, arthroscopic surgery will be minimally invasive.  Before surgery is even considered, an orthopedic surgeon will discuss your condition and let you know which options are available.  They will want to evaluate your medical history, examine your hand, discuss your options and recommend a successful course of action.  They will also discuss potential results once the surgery has been performed.

Once a course of action has been agreed upon, you may be asked to get bloodwork, to stop smoking or adjust your current medications.

If surgery is necessary, the procedure will often involve an arthroscope, a small tube-shaped instrument designed to be inserted into the affected joint area via a small incision, usually less than a half inch.   This instrument will be used in conjunction with other tools to perform the necessary treatment.  The treatment will, most of the time, be done under a local anesthesia; however, if the surgery requires plates or wires to fix a broken hand, for example, then a general anesthesia may be required.

The most popular hand surgical procedures performed include carpal tunnel syndrome, ganglion cysts, Dupuytren’s Contracture, deQuarvain’s Tendonitis, trigger finger, fractures and arthritis.

The most popular procedure, which involves repairing a tendon, will involve a slight incision, followed by surgically fusing the retracted tendon together again to restore function.  A carpal tunnel procedure will involve creating a  small incision from the middle of the palm to the wrist, allowing the surgeon to access the constricted tissue that’s causing the pressure on the nerve.  Birth deformities, referred to as syndactyly, will involve separating the two fingers to offer a fuller range of motion as well as a normal appearance.  This surgery may entail grafting the skin or using a flap procedure to create flexibility at the incision site.

After the surgery has been performed, the hand will be wrapped and placed in a splint to heal.  You will then be given specific instructions on how to take care of your hand.  This will include medications to take, how to properly clean it to avoid infection and/or when to follow up with your surgeon.

Depending on the doctor and/or hospital, the fees mentioned above may include the following:  surgeon’s fee, hospital fee, anesthesia fees, prescriptions and medical tests.  All hospitals will have its own inclusions.

What are the extra costs?

During the surgery, anesthesia is going to be needed to help control the pain.  Hospitals will charge upwards of $600 to $1,000 per shot administered.

Hospitalization may be required during the initial days after the surgery is performed so the physician will be able to monitor the condition.  The fee for hospitals will differ based on location, but it can cost up to $1,800 to $2,400 per day without insurance.

To take care of the hand after surgery, a hand splint may be required to provide support for the hand.

Prescription medication will also be necessary to keep the pain and swelling down.

Physical therapy sessions may be needed for those struggling to heal or regain strength.

Tips to know

Common hand surgery risks may include blood clotting, infections, anesthesia risks, swelling, poor healing, allergies, thrombosis and pain.

Some hand disorders and injuries can progressively get worse over time and treatment may be the only option to see an improved outcome.

How can I save money?

Consult with your doctor to talk about alternative medicine options that don’t require surgery.

If you don’t have health insurance, see if the provider offers a cash discount.

Talk with your health insurance company to see if the procedure will be covered; if so, you may only be responsible for your co-pay and/or deductible.  As long as it’s deemed medically necessary, the procedure should be covered.

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