How Much Does a Kidney Removal Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

A nephrectomy, more commonly known as a kidney removal, is a surgical procedure performed to remove the kidney.  This procedure will commonly be done when a patient has some sort of damaged or even dysfunctional kidney because of cancer, birth defects, kidney stone damage or uncontrollable blood pressure.  Under general anesthesia, nephrectomy is performed to remove a non-functioning kidney or a congenitally small kidney.

The price of a nephrectomy is going to depend on the doctor performing the procedure, the type of nephrectomy being performed, the geographical location, the hospital and the inclusions in the initial bill.

Operating Room by Jeff Kubina, on Flickr
Operating Room” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Jeff Kubina

How much does a kidney removal cost?

On average, a kidney removal procedure can cost anywhere from $7,500 to as much as $35,800+ without health insurance.

Health insurance policies will commonly cover this procedure as long as it is deemed medically necessary.  Check with your health insurance policy to know more about the deductible and co-pay.

According to GlobalDoctorOptions.com, the price for nephrectomy range from $7,000 to $9,000.

HealthCareBlueBook.com states that the entire procedure can cost upwards of $22,000.

Types of nephrectomy procedures

Partial

A partial procedure is just that — it will remove only a portion of the kidney.

Bilateral

A bilateral nephrectomy will remove both of your kidneys.

Simple

A simple nephrectomy will take out the entire kidney.  During the procedure, a small incision, up to 12 inches in length ill be made following the lower ribs; in some cases, a rib may have to be removed.  Once exposed, the muscle, organs and fat will be set aside to expose the kidney.  The kidney will then be disconnected from its blood supply and the ureter tube.  The incision will then be sutured.

Radical

The radical will extract the nearby adrenal gland and lymph nodes, along with the kidney.  With this procedure, it will be similar to the simple nephrectomy; however, the incision will be made near the abdomen and can be longer.

Laparoscopic

A laparoscopic nephrectomy procedure will use a camera that’s attached to a guided surgical instrument.  In the abdomen, the doctor will create three to four very small incisions, just large enough to be able to remove the kidney but a lot smaller than the other procedures.  During the removal process, a sling will be used instead, making the process last longer than the other types mentioned in the list; however, the recovery period will be shorter.

Da Vinci

Another procedure, known as the Da Vinci partial nephrectomy, will use smaller incisions just like the laparoscopic procedure.  This procedure, however, will use robotic technology that’s able to guide the doctor’s hands as he or she performs the surgery for precise movement.

Kidney removal overview

Before the surgery is even considered, a doctor will take your blood and conduct a physical examination to see if you’re a suitable candidate for the surgery.  He or she will cease all blood-thinning medication one week before the surgery is scheduled.

The procedures noted above, regardless of which procedure you have done, can take up to three hours and will commonly be done by either a urologist or general surgeon.

After the procedure, the recovery period can be very painful, and the hospital staff will attempt to get you to sit up and walk slowly to help control the pain.  During the first few days after the recovery, the incision will need to be drained and a catheter will have to be used.  Expect to stay at the hospital for up to one week, and the full recovery time can take up to six weeks.

What are the extra costs?

Pre-op blood work, tests and doctor’s visits won’t be included in the price estimates above.  Other tests, which won’t be included in the quotes above, will include a urine analysis, x-rays of the kidney, an ECG, ultrasound, cystoscopy, IVP and/or MRI.

Anesthesia will be required to make sure that the patient does not feel pain or fall asleep during the entire operation.  Anesthesia is usually not included with the payment that is made for the procedure.  Anesthesia can start at $500 and rise from there.

Additional hospital overnight stays can result in a fee that ranges anywhere from $800 to $2,000 per night depending on the hospital and where you live.

After the procedure has been performed, additional follow-up visits will be required to ensure that the patient has recovered properly.

Pain medication will be given after the surgery due to the pain.  IVs may be required as well to ensure that the electrolyte balance is normal.

Tips to know

Possible post-op complications may include infection, bleeding, pneumonia or an allergic reaction.

How can I save money?

Talk with a few different hospitals to see what the process is going to cost.  Most hospitals are more than happy to give a good estimate over the phone.

If paying with cash, ask for a discount.  Many hospitals are more than willing to give a cash discount.

Ask your insurance provider to see how much they can cover the total cost of the procedure.

This procedure is commonly done overseas.  If heading overseas, always make sure that you do your due diligence to ensure that you know the surgeon that would be performing the procedure.


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