How Much Does a Lymph Node Biopsy Cost?
A lymph node biopsy is a procedure that removes and examines a lymph node, or part of it, to find out if cancer is present.
There are three types of lymph node biopsies: a fine needle aspiration (often called needle biopsy), open lymph node biopsy, and sentinel lymph node biopsy. The type of procedure you get done will be determined by your doctor and your specific condition.
How much does it cost?
- Without any sort of insurance, most lymph node biopsies are going to be within the $1,000 to $8,000 range.
- For example, according to Healthcare Blue Book, the cost of physician services (procedure fee) for a fine needle aspiration, where fluid or tissue is removed through a needle, is $246.
- An article at Boston.com states that needle biopsies cost about $1,000, while open biopsies cost $5,000, plus anesthesia fees.
- A report in the American Journal of Roentgenology provides a table with the cost breakdown of procedures for two types of lymph node biopsy. For a long-core needle biopsy, the total cost is $700, which comprised of the radiology and pathology fees. The cost for a wire localization biopsy is $2,700. These fees include the radiology, operating room, anesthesia and surgery fees.
What is going to be included?
- A lymph node biopsy is done in a hospital, or at an outpatient surgical center. There are three types of lymph node biopsy: sentinel lymph node, needle biopsy, and open biopsy. The sentinel lymph node biopsy involves injecting a radioactive tracer or a blue dye at the tumor site. In a needle biopsy procedure, a needle is inserted into a lymph node and collects a sample. This sample is then tested and biopsied outside the body. An open biopsy procedure involves creating a surgical cut, removing the entire lymph node, and suturing the incision closed. Once the lymph node is removed, it will be biopsied and tested.
What are the extra costs?
- The initial doctor’s appointments in which the biopsy was ordered will be a separate cost.
- There are rare cases when the site of a biopsy (wound) becomes infected. This is typically managed by means of antibiotics prescribed by the doctor.
- There are instances when an additional biopsy is required, often due to unsuccessful pre-operative biopsies. A medical study revealed that many cases involving the use of the fine needle aspiration method resulted to additional biopsies.
- With most biopsies, the doctor will request that the patient comes in for a follow-up visit, which in turn, can lead to additional office examination fees. This visit is important so that the patient and doctor can discuss the results of the test and whether or not any further treatment is necessary.
- If cancer is found and needs to be treated, there will be many more costs to consider in the future.
Tips to know:
- The risks involved in a lymph node biopsy include bleeding, infection of the biopsy site, and nerve injury (which most often occurs when the biopsy is conducted on a lymph node located close to the nerves).
- Some medical professionals recommend that a needle biopsy should be conducted on women being tested for cancer instead of an open biopsy. According to the said professionals, the latter typically costs a lot more, is not proven to be any more or less accurate, and often leaves scars that can hinder a subsequent surgical procedure in the event that the woman does have cancer. Additionally, open biopsies can result in bruising and a higher chance of infection.
- A normal lymph node is approximately 1.3 centimeters in diameter. Lymph nodes with infections or malignant cells are often larger than this.
- If cancer has been detected on a lymph node that has been fully removed, this does not mean that the patient is cancer free. There will still need to be many tests run to see what caused cancer and whether or not it has spread to any other places in the body.
How can I save money?
- If you have insurance, find the recommended price for a lymph node biopsy procedure by calling in-network providers. Many of them will charge different rates. Get in touch with them look for one willing to accept a lower price. If you do not have insurance or maybe you are looking for a new policy, consider browsing through hundreds for free at eHealthInsurance.com.
- If you do not have insurance, ask about discounts for self-pay patients and the rates offered for patients belonging to the uninsured category.
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