How Much Does Shoulder Surgery Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

Shoulder surgery may be performed for a variety of reasons and can be treated in different ways.  Whether you have torn your rotator cuff or your shoulder has dislocated, your doctor may require some sort of surgical procedure.

Shoulder incisions by scjody, on Flickr
Shoulder incisions” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by scjody

How much does shoulder surgery cost?

The two most common types of shoulder surgery include open and arthroscopic surgery.  In the worst cases, a total shoulder replacement may even be necessary.  This may be the only treatment available for severe arthritis, for example.  When the injury is minor and is considered to be a partial tear, then the doctor will more than likely require arthroscopic surgery.  On the other hand, if there’s a severe tear to the ligament, then an invasive-type surgery will be required.

On average, shoulder surgery can range anywhere from $6,000 to as much as $20,000 without any type of health insurance policy.  Because there are so many procedures and treatment plans that can be done, the costs will depend on the type of surgery, the hospital, your doctor, where you live and the complexity of the surgery.

Since this procedure will be more than likely covered under your health insurance plan, you should only have to pay a small portion of this amount and will only be responsible for your co-pay and deductible.

A shoulder arthroscopy procedure, on average, can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000, while an open surgery, which is generally done for those who have done extensive damage to the shoulder, can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $18,000.

The NCBI performed a study on the cost analysis of the four common shoulder procedures.  According to the abstract, those who had open rotator cuff repair paid an average of $9,444, while those who underwent open, anterior instability repair paid $8,675.  Group three underwent arthroscopic subacromial decompression and paid an average of $7,246.  Lastly, group four, the costliest group, paid an average of $16,323 for a total shoulder arthroplasty.  These averages included the anesthetic fees, hospital bills and consultation fees.

New Choice Health broke down the costs for national rotator cuff surgery, and according to their table, the costs ranged anywhere from as little as $8,000 to more than $50,000; however, the national average was in the $21,000 range.

Shoulder surgery overview

Before you undergo surgery, your doctor will first want to evaluate you to ensure the procedures will be safe.  During this consult, your doctor will more than likely order a blood test, an x-ray of your shoulder and an MRI to evaluate the tissue damage.  A CT scan may also be performed to examine the bone damage in detail.  If the doctor feels the injury is minor, he or she may recommend physical therapy and/or alternative treatment options for six to 12 months to see if the symptoms improve.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, there are five common treatment options for rotator cuff injuries:  non-operative, partial repair, repair, reconstructive and arthroplasty.

A non-operative procedure will often require no surgery since the doctor will recommend medication and rehabilitation to see if the shoulder will improve.  During an arthroscopic procedure, a small incision will be made in the shoulder area and is often done when the injury is minor.  This surgery will be minimally invasive and can often be carried out in an outpatient center, without any overnight stays.  Using a thin device and a small camera, the doctor will be able to fix the affected joint.  If the tear is severe, then an invasive-type surgery will be required and open shoulder surgery will be recommended if there’s a severe injury to the ACL.  During the surgical procedure, the doctor will make separate incisions and cuts to the shoulder muscle and will reattach the tendons to the knee bone.  With this procedure, the average patient will stay in the hospital for two to five days.  An arthroplasty will be a full replacement, replacing, remodeling and realigning the rotator cuff.

What are the extra costs?

To lessen or remove the pain felt during an open surgery, anesthesia will be required during most surgeries.  The average price for anesthesia can start at $600 for a surgical procedure that can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour.  This is often a service that will be billed separately.

Invasive surgeries will almost always need a few nights at the hospital.  Just like a hotel, the hospital will bill you for every night you stay, which is usually around $1,000 per night without insurance.  However, those who have an arthroscopy will be able to leave the outpatient center a few hours after the procedure has been performed.

A few weeks prior to the surgery you will need to prepare for several weeks of rehabilitation at a local physical therapist office.

Also, to help recuperate, you will need to factor the ongoing medication costs.

How can I save money?

Your insurance provider should be able to cover the cost of shoulder surgery as long as the procedure is deemed medically necessary. If you do not have health insurance, consider using services such as to find a quote.

If you have no insurance, you may be able to save money by paying cash up front.  Most hospitals will give a large discount to those who pay cash if you ask up front.

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Average Reported Cost: $4510

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Kelly Albrecht (Pekin,  Illinois ) paid $20,000 and said:

    Small hospital, not that complicated of a procedure, pretty shocked at the price. Had debridement, general cleaning up of synovitis in shoulder, attempted biceps tenodesis but the anchor broke (!) so I ended up with an unplanned biceps tenotomy.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  2. Joseph Rosa (Thornton,  Colorado) paid $9000 and said:

    Right side rotator cuff and tendons Kaiser Permanente was very professional in and out same day .

    Was it worth it? Yes

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