How Much Does a Laparotomy Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

A laparotomy, also referred to as an exploratory laparotomy, is a surgical procedure which helps identify, diagnosis and treat several abdominal-related conditions.  This procedure involves creating a larger incision in the abdominal wall to access the abdominal cavity and is considered the first step of another procedure.

How much does a laparotomy cost?

The costs of a laparotomy will vary from state to state, but those who don’t have any health insurance should be prepared to spend anywhere from as little as $2,000 to more than $6,500+.  Major procedures can be much more.  Other factors that affect the price includes the doctor performing the procedure, the hospital setting and if any complications were to occur.

For instance, exploring behind the abdominal cavity can cost $2,500 to $5,000, while a biopsy of the stomach can be in the same range.  Reopening a recent incision can be $3,000 to $5,000.

Dovemed.com notes the prices will depend on a variety of factors, including your health insurance plan, the findings during the surgery and what post-operative care is required.

Laparotomy overview

The procedure will require a large incision in the abdomen and will be considered a pathway to a major surgical procedure.  It can be performed to investigate the organs, collect tissue samples, repair hernias, remove diseased tissues and/or organs as well as repair abnormalities.  The main objective is to obtain information not readily available via a clinical diagnostic method.  Most procedures will be done on an in-patient basis and will require a hospital stay of at least one to two days, depending on how well the patient heals.

During the procedure, an incision will be made into the abdomen, dividing the skin and connecting tissue.  The surgeon will then explore the abdominal cavity for any sort of trauma and/or disease.  The organ in question will be examined for any evidence of perforation, abnormal growths, inflammation or other conditions.  If any fluid present, this will be inspected as well since this can often indicate a specific disease.  If any abnormal condition is found, the surgeon has the option of either treating the patient before the wound is closed or offer treatment options after the procedure was complete.  For instance, if cancer is noted, a biopsy may be needed to confirm the evidence of abnormal cells.  If the surgeon goes in knowing what to look for, such as cancer, the process may be slightly different.

The procedure will be performed by a general surgeon and/or obstetrician-gynecologist, with the assistance of an anesthesiologist and will last one to two hours.

For some, the recovery time can be painful and may take weeks to recover.  In fact, it could take up to a year to see the surgical site completely heal since the abdominal area can be one of the hardest areas to heal.

Hysterectomies and other major abdominal procedures may be done using a laparotomy.

What are the extra costs?

Before the surgery is even considered, doctors will exhaust their options to make sure this is the best option.  These test will include x-rays, blood work, an ECG,  CT scans and/or MRIs.

Every hospital and doctor will have their own billing policies.  While some may include the fees for anesthesia and the surgeon, others may bill you separately.  It’s very important to discuss your bill to receive an itemized list on the things you will be charged for.  Most patients will receive a bill for the hospital, anesthesiologist if anesthesia was administered and the surgeon.

If a tissue was sent in for analysis, a pathologist fee may apply.

Since this procedure explores the potential issues for an underlying condition, additional procedures may be necessary for the future, depending on what the doctor finds during his or her diagnosis.  For instance, it plays an important role in determining certain stages of cancers and sees how far cancer has spread.  Some other conditions may, during the exploratory phase, may find peritonitis, appendicitis, pancreatitis, abscesses, adhesions, intestinal perforation, foreign bodies and internal bleeding.  If any of these conditions were found, additional tests and/or procedures would be necessary.

Tips to know

Don’t confuse the term “mini-laparotomy” with laparoscopic surgery as most do.  Laparoscopic surgery will be commonly be used to perform a tubal ligation and a laparotomy won’t be related to this surgical procedure.  As a minimally invasive mean of inspecting the abdomen, however, a laparoscopy may be used to reduce the applications of an exploratory laparotomy.

Risks may include nausea, a sore throat, fatique, headaches, the use of general anesthesia, an allergic reaction and more

How can I save money?

Alternatives such as a laparoscopy are available for those who want to go through a minimally invasive procedure.  Discuss your options with your doctor before getting the procedure done.


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