Surgery Cost With and Without Insurance in 2024?

Alyssa Corso
Alyssa Corso1 Jan 2024
Reviewed and Fact Checked ✔️

Depending on the surgery, the out-of-pocket cost can range between $4,000 to $170,000. The most expensive surgery is heart transplant. LASIK eye surgery and other elective procedures may cost less. Factors like where you get the surgery done, the type of surgery you're getting, and pre or post-surgery care will impact the cost.

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Understand Elective vs. Non-elective Surgeries

Elective Surgery: This category includes surgeries that are planned and are not for life-threatening conditions. Examples include cosmetic surgery, joint replacements, or cataract surgery. Insurance coverage for elective surgery can vary greatly. Many elective cosmetic surgeries are not covered by insurance unless they are deemed medically necessary. Pre-authorization from the insurance company is usually required.

Non-Elective Surgery: This category includes emergency surgery, which is performed in life-threatening situations, and medically necessary surgery, which is required to treat a health condition but is not an immediate emergency. These surgeries are generally covered by insurance, subject to policy terms. Emergency surgeries are typically covered without pre-authorization due to their urgent nature. For medically necessary surgeries, pre-authorization is often required to confirm that the procedure is covered.

Cosmetic Surgery: cosmetic surgery is considered non-elective. However, there are exceptions such as breast reduction and reconstructive surgery when deemed medically necessary. 

Difference: the key difference in coverage between elective and non-elective surgeries is often the degree of medical necessity. Insurance policies are more likely to cover surgeries that are essential for a patient's health, while elective procedures, especially those for cosmetic purposes, are less likely to be covered or may have more limited coverage.

Cost of Surgery Without Insurance

Paying for surgery out of pocket can vary greatly, costing you between $4,000 and $170,000, depending on what surgery you get. LASIK eye surgery may cost you about $4,000 because the surgery is less intensive, takes less time to perform, and can be an outpatient procedure, which is less expensive when compared to inpatient procedures. 

However, more extensive surgeries such as a heart valve replacement or heart bypass are more expensive for the following reasons:

  • Pre and post-operative hospital stay. Before and after receiving surgery, you will likely have to stay in the hospital. This is to make sure you are prepared for the surgery and are recovering well after. The average hospital stay is 6-7 days for bypass surgery.
  • Pre-surgical treatment. Pre-surgical treatment is done to increase the success of the surgery; this may include catheterization and other treatments necessary to ensure that bypass surgery is successful.
  • Anti-rejection medication. Anti-rejection medicine is necessary to prevent your body from rejecting any new organs, arteries, or valves after surgery. It may be prescribed for transplant surgeries as well.

Elective Surgeries

Surgery TypeCost
Hip Replacement$40,364
Knee Replacement$35,000
Hip Resurfacing$28,000
Gastric Bypass$25,000
Gastric Sleeve$16,500
Cataract Surgery$3,500 - $7,000
Varicose Vein Treatment$600 - $3,000 per leg
Carpal Tunnel Surgery$2,000 - $4,000
Bunion Surgery$5,000 - $13,000
Tonsillectomy$4,000 - $6,000
Tubal Ligation$1,500 - $6,000
Hemorrhoid Surgery$3,000 - $6,000

Non-Elective Surgery

Surgery TypeCost
Heart Valve Replacement$170,000
Heart Bypass$123,000
Spinal Fusion$110,000
Spleen Removal$47,860
Replace or Revise Brain Shunt$49,355
Cranial Lesion$50,189
Removal of Pacemaker/Defibrillator$52,005
Partial Removal of the Colon$52,353
Gallbladder Surgery$54,041
Appendectomy$33,000 - $48,000
Emergency Cesarean Section (C-Section)$7,500 - $14,500
Brain Surgery for Tumor Removal$100,000 - $150,000
Lung Transplant$800,000 - $1,200,000
Heart Transplant$1,000,000 - $1,400,000
Emergency Fracture Surgery (e.g., Hip)$15,000 - $35,000
Trauma Surgery (e.g., for Car Accident)Varies widely based on injuries
Bowel Obstruction Surgery$30,000 - $120,000
Emergency Aortic Dissection Repair$180,000 - $250,000

Cosmetic Surgeries

Surgery TypeCost
Rhinoplasty (Nose Job)$6,500
Breast Implants$6,400
Liposuction$3,500 - $8,000
Tummy Tuck$8,000 - $10,000
Facelift$7,500 - $11,000
Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)$3,000 - $5,000
Breast Lift$4,500 - $6,000
Botox$200 - $400 per session
Dermal Fillers$600 - $1,000 per syringe
Chemical Peel$600 - $900
Hair Transplant$4,000 - $15,000
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Alyssa Corso

Alyssa is a Senior Marketing Associate & Content Writer at Mira. She is passionate about educating others on how to affordably access healthcare.

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