How Much Does an ACL Replacement Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

One of the most common knee injuries people suffer is a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).  This ligament is one of the major four ligaments located in the knee that connects the bones of the knee together.  When the ACL is injured or torn, there are many options to fixing it, and surgery is not always the best option.

Knee replacement surgery cost:

Without insurance, the cost of a knee replacement will range from $20,000 to $50,000.  This cost depends on the cost of living in your area, the doctor you choose, the hospital you choose, the extent of the injury, and the need for physical therapy.

If you have insurance and only pay a co-pay or a percentage of the bill, your costs will be anywhere from $800 to $3,000.  Since this procedure is deemed medically necessary, it should be covered.  Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance companies will cover the procedure if it’s deemed necessary.

According to this AARP.org article, the cost of ACL surgery in 2008 was $45,783.  They note that the average patient will stay in the hospital anywhere from three to five days.

Regenexx.com notes the average ACL surgery cost in the United States is $10,000 to $12,000.

kneedtoknow.wordpress.com broke down the bills they received from the hospital and said the following: “In 2013, my medical providers billed a total of $13,792.61 for my ACL reconstruction. This includes doctor visits, medical images, physical therapy, surgery, and misc. things like crutches.”

CountryPrice
United States$40,000 to $65,000
Singapore$15,000 to $24,000
Thailand$9,000 to $15,000
Taiwan$6,000 to $11,000
India$5,000 to $10,000
Costa Rica$8,000 to $12,000
Mexico$12,000 to $17,000

ACL replacement overview

The initial doctor’s visit where the doctor orders tests and discusses your options is included in this estimate.

Also included is the testing, which is usually an MRI, and this is used to determine the extent of the injury.

The surgery is usually an outpatient procedure, meaning a hospital stay isn’t needed.

During the surgery, the surgeon will create two to three small incisions around the knee.  Once the incision is cleaned, an arthroscope will be inserted into the incision to allow the surgeon to see the inside of the knee via camera pictures.  These pictures, which come from a camera on the end of the arthroscope, will be transmitted to a TV monitor in the operating room.  To more about the details, calv.info does a nice job breaking his procedure down.

All surgeries will be done by orthopedic surgeons.  Drills will be inserted through these incisions, creating small holes in the upper and lower leg bones near the knee joint.  These holes will form a tunnel where the graft will be anchored.  The graft is pulled through these tunnels and the surgeon will secure the graft will hardware such as staples and screws.

The average knee replacement recovery time is going to take anywhere from one to three days inside of the hospital.  Once the patient gets home, physical therapy may be needed up to three months depending on the complexity of the surgery.  After three months, everything should get back to normal again.  Those who have a job that doesn’t require any heavy lifting can be back and working in less than three weeks.

After the ACL replacement surgery, physical therapy is needed to improve the range of motion in the knee.

What are the extra costs?

Separate fees may be applied, such as the MRI that is ordered by the doctor, the initial MRI and the surgeon fee for the operation done in the hospital.

Depending on the hospital, additional services such as anesthesia and a facility fee may be needed.  Every hospital will have its own billing inclusions.

If there are any complications during the surgery, there will be extra charges.

Equipment, such as crutches and a knee brace, is necessary.  This is sometimes covered by insurance but not always.

There are cases where the replacement does not work and the surgery needs to be redone.

After the replacement has been done, physical therapy may be required for the next six to 12 months.  Depending on the severity of the replacement, the length of the sessions will vary.

Tips to know:

ACL replacement will have many pros and cons that one should know about.  For starters, an ACL replacement surgery can help return a person back to athlete levels.  This is ideal for those that still participate in sports.  The surgery may also protect those from damage to knee cartilage in the future, and the knee will feel as if it’s back to normal.

As for the cons, the surgery may not be 100% effective.  In some circumstances, patients have found that the surgery didn’t work up to expectations.  After the surgery, complications can occur that can make the situation worse.

Some of the complications that can occur during the surgery include a failure of the graft, which can lead to a reconstructive surgery down the road.  Another common complication that occurs are infections.  Infections commonly happen to those that receive donor grafts.  As far as complications go, 90% of these type of surgeries go according to plan.

ACL replacement surgery is ideal for those that want to return back to high-level sports such as basketball.  It’s also ideal for individuals that want to avoid therapy such as conservative therapy.

Always make sure that you research the surgeon that will perform the surgery.  Studies have shown that people who select an experienced surgeon will have a lesser risk of complications down the road.  Try to find a surgeon who has performed at least 40 to 50 knee surgeries in a year.

Knee surgery will help reduce the pain and allow you to become more mobile.  Don’t think that it will make you feel like a teenager again.  Be realistic about your outcomes because overdoing it after a surgery can cause massive problems.

Age is not a factor with this surgery, but a doctor will look at your overall health.  If you have a medical condition that may deem you a risk, the doctor may recommend a non-surgical method.

Problems, although rare, may include the following:  numbness, an infection, damage to the nerves and blood clots.

Knee replacement recovery:

After the patient is released from the hospital, physical therapy will start.  They will focus on the whole body to help you build up your strength.  These exercises will include riding a stationary bike, lifting weights and performing various exercises.

If you fail to head to physical therapy, your functioning won’t improve.  There won’t be any sort of pain, but if you weren’t able to walk up the stairs before, you won’t be able to do it after.

Some exercises and activities may have to be given up after the surgery.  For example, dancing or biking may have to stop.

A prosthesis will last up to 20 years.  Less than one percent of prostheses will fail in the first 12 months.

How can I save money?

If you have no insurance, most hospitals will negotiate lower prices if you pay cash up front.  They can also provide payment options for those who can’t afford the initial price.  Call up a few hospitals and ask for a quote over the phone.  Most will be more than happy to provide you with one.

Because ACL tears are so common, many people have used equipment available at a lower cost.

Consider other options that don’t require surgery.  Also, talk with a doctor to see if the surgery can be pushed ahead to the future.  There are some risks that can occur if the surgery is held off, but it will depend on the situation.


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Average Reported Cost: $3000

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How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Roua Creed (Denver,  Colorado) paid $3000 and said:

    Actual repair of the anterior cruciate ligament was around $3,000 using arthroscopy, but hospital costs, surgeon’s fees and anesthesiologist fees and physical therapy costs added up, between $10,000 to $30,000 for the procedure in the United States.
    The same surgical procedure
    – ACL repair surgery in India is around $3,200, while in Mexico or Costa Rica it’s between $4,300 to $9,400.
    You can also check an ACL with meniscus repair surgery in Poland.
    Placidway has centers joining all the time, so if you don’t find the treatment you need on their website, just contact them.

    Was it worth it? Yes

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