How Much Does a Prosthetic Leg Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 9, 2018

A prosthetic leg will be used if a patient has either lost a portion or all of a leg, often caused by diabetes or an injury.  With a range of options, varying from a basic device to computerized versions, the costs will vary.

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Who Dat” (CC BY 2.0) by  Derek Bridges

How much does a prosthetic leg cost?

The average cost of a prosthetic leg will depend on your amputation level and the type of device you’re looking for

If you have health insurance, you will then be responsible for your co-pays and deductibles, and this will greatly depend on your health insurance coverage.  All prosthetic legs should be covered by health insurance in some way or another, but in most cases, the patient will have to meet certain health criteria and only certain legs will be covered.  Always talk with your health insurance company before proceeding and agreeing to any terms with a doctor.

Patients who don’t have health insurance will find themselves paying anywhere from as little as $8,000 for a basic leg to more than $120,000 for an advanced computerized version controlled the muscle movements.   The C-Leg

Type of Prosthetic LegAverage Cost
Basic below-the-knee prosthetic$3,000 to $10,000
Flexible basic below-the-knee prosthetic$7,000 to $12,000
Special hydraulic and/or mechanical assistance for better control$20,000 to $40,000
Computerized prosthetic leg$50,000+

The Hospital for Special Surgery claims the price of a new prosthetic leg can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000, but even the most expensive prosthetic limb will be built to withstand only three to five years of wear and tear, meaning they will have to constantly be replaced.

This Vice article states the most expensive prosthetic leg available as of today is the Genium X3 knee, the “Maserati” of prosthetics.  This particular prosthetic is waterproof, dustproof, saltwater resistant and will run silently.  The estimated costs, according to the manufacturer, is $120,000.  The same article also claims that the C-Leg, another prosthetic created by the Otto Bock Orthopedic Industry that’s as close to the real human leg, can cost $40,000 to $60,000.

Prosthetic leg overview

After amputation surgery, you will need to meet with a prosthetist, a health professional who specializes in fitting and evaluating patients with prostheses. The time between the surgery and your prosthetist will depend on how quickly your residual limb will fully heal.  Usually, according to the Amputee Coalition, it can begin two to six months after the surgery. During this first session, they will take measurements, create a cast of the stump and a temporary prosthesis will be created to be used for up to a year since the stump will change shape as it heals.

About a year later, when the stump stops growing, you will need to meet with the prosthetist again to discuss the varying permanent options available.  Again, the prosthetist will take another cast and a permanent leg will be created.  Depending on the type, this can take a few weeks to create.

Types of prosthetic legs

Below the knee, known as BK is a prosthetic lower leg that’s attached to the intact upper leg.

An above the knee, knwon as an AK, is a prosthetic lower and upper leg, including a prosthetic knee.

What are the extra costs?

Aside from the leg, as priced above, it will need to be customized in order to fit properly.  Each appointment can add up well into the hundreds without insurance.

Physical therapy will help a new patient learn how to use their new prosthetic leg.  Typically costing $100 to $300 per session without insurance, a number of sessions will greatly depend on how well you respond to the leg.  Normally, it can take a few months before you’re able to get back to a daily, normal routine.  Requiring multiple sessions, it’s not unheard of to see the bills reach into the tens of thousands.

A prosthetic leg won’t last forever, and as the HSS above mentioned, the average leg can only withstand wear and tear for three to five years, meaning the leg will either have to be repaired or replaced.  Even during the early stages, socket changes, liners and a different device may be needed to ensure a proper fit.

A leg cover, while optional, can add style to your leg.  A high-quality cover can cost $25 to $45, depending on the size.

How can I save money?

There are non-profit organizations out there that may be able to help with financial assistance if you were unable to afford one.

eBay has quite a few listings you may want to browse through to see if any gently used legs may work for your situation.  If you’re able to find one that could potentially fit, this could save you thousands of dollars.

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