How Much Does Thyroidectomy Surgery Cost?
A thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure where the thyroid gland is surgically removed completely (total thyroidectomy) or just partially (thyroid lobectomy or partial thyroidectomy). Located over the larynx, around the trachea, the thyroid functions to produce hormones which are released into the bloodstream to regulate the body’s metabolism.
The thyroid will often have to be removed if the patient has thyroid cancer, an overacted thyroid, a cyst or enlargement which affects the breathing.
How much is it?
- The cost of a thyroidectomy will depend on the complexity of the procedure, the type of procedure, days in the hospital, geographical location, the doctor performing the procedure, if insurance is involved and the inclusions in the hospital bill. On average, this procedure can cost anywhere from $8,000 to as much as $25,000 without any health insurance.
- MEDIGO explains the procedure in depth and says the average price for this procedure in the United States is about $17,500.
- The Healthcare Bluebook claims the total fair price, without insurance, should be about $16,203.
What is going to be included?
- The surgical procedure will often be done in a hospital setting and the average patient will need to stay up to two days as long as no complications occur.
- During the procedure, a patient will be administered under a general anesthetic before the surgery even begins. The surgery, if successful, will take two to three hours to perform a full removal and up to an hour for a partial job.
The thyroidectomy surgery options
In the surgical world, there are three techniques a surgeon may opt to use, either the conventional method, a minimally invasive method or robotically.
- The conventional open surgery will be the most commonly used surgery. During this procedure, the surgeon will create a small incision across the neck to access the thyroid. Depending on the condition, either all of part of the thyroid will be removed. If the patient were to have cancer, for example, then the surrounding lymph nodes may be removed as well.
- The minimally invasive technique will require several smaller incisions rather than one large one like the conventional method. Unlike the conventional method, the surgeon will insert an endoscope as a guide to locate and remove the thyroid while using small instruments.
- Lastly, the robotic method is relatively new and involves what’s known as the da Vinci Surgical System. Rather than creating an incision, the surgery will be performed by accessing the armpit by creating a small incision under the arm, followed by using a robotic hand and camera to remove the thyroid.
Regardless of which option is used, the incision site will be closed with sutures and a sterile dressing will be applied. If the incision was in the neck, then a draining tube may be used to drain any excess fluid.
What are the extra costs?
- Hospital bills often come with many separate bills, and the estimates mentioned above may or may not include the anesthesiologist fee, surgeon’s fee, follow-up appointments and so forth. Speak with the hospital ahead of time to see what your estimate will include if they provide you with one.
- If the entire thyroid was removed, then the patient will have to take a thyroid hormone replacement medication. Other medication, such as a pain reliever, may be prescribed as well.
Tips to know
- After the surgery, patients will be taken to a recovery room with a breathing tube attached and a surgical drain if required. An IV drip may also be used if the incision was made in the neck since swallowing may be painful for the patient.
- Potential risks and complications may include infection, a slight change in voice, airway obstruction and/or excessive bleeding.
How can I save money?
- If you meet certain income guidelines and have no insurance, then the hospital may be able to work with your situation, offering a steep discount. Talk with the hospital’s financing department to see if they can help bring the costs down.
- As long as it’s deemed medically necessary, your health insurance plan should cover it. Since all insurance policies will vary, you should be responsible for your co-pays and deductibles.
- All hospitals will vary with its pricing, so it’s best to talk with the hospitals over the phone to see if they can offer some sort of estimate.
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