A bunion can become very painful and, if not given the proper care, can get worse. The good news is that there are available medications to treat bunions and support structures like orthotics to bring the deformation back to its normal form. However, some patients choose to undergo bunion surgery to take away the pain and discomfort permanently. If you are curious about how much bunion surgery costs, read on.
Cost of a Bunion Surgery With Insurance
On average, the cost of bunion surgery is between $3,500 and $5,000, with an actual price ranging from $2,000 to as much as $34,000. Some even reported having a comprehensive hospital bill for surgery amounting to a whopping $66,000.
However, this amount already covers pre-surgery procedures up to follow-up checkups post-surgery. Moreover, with insurance coverage, the patient ended up paying only $3,500 and the rest was paid by the insurance company.
Uninsured patients can also pay less for a bunion operation through discounts or special rates. If you pay before the surgery takes place, or if you pay in full after the service is completed, you can get a 5% discount.
But that still depends on the policies of the hospital, the clinic, or the facility where you want to have bunion surgery.
Conservative Bunion Treatment Cost
If you find these prices ridiculously expensive, the least cost to treat a bunion is $1,000 for conservative treatment. This includes an anti-inflammatory drug, custom-made orthotics, a loose or a roomy pair of shoes, a foot splint to be worn every night, and stretching exercises.
In some cases, your doctor may administer a cortisone shot near the inflammation to reduce the pain. A single shot can cost around $100 to $300.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Bunion Surgery
Apparently, there are many factors that influence the cost. The most typical ones are the following:
1. The complexity or the type of bunion surgery being performed
There are different surgical approaches to dealing with bunions depending on the severity and specific desired outcomes. These options would drastically change what you have to pay for your bunion surgery fee.
- Ligaments and tendons repair: bunions mostly happen due to the tendons and ligaments being a little too tight on one side and a little too loose on the other side. This surgery restores the right balance where it is needed.
- Arthrodesis: In this type of surgery, two bones are united by straightening a damaged joint, typically removing some cartilage, and stabilizing the said bones in such a way that they can heal together.
- Exostectomy: this is otherwise known as bunionectomy, where the actual bump at the joint of the toes is removed. This surgery is often performed in conjunction with soft tissue repair.
- Osteotomy – this is the surgery of choice when there is a need to cut and realign the joint where the straightened bones are being held in place using pins, screws, and plates.
- Resection Arthroplasty: This surgery is typically the last resort if no other surgical options are available. Also, this is typically performed after a botched procedure that often results in infection and where the implants are removed.
2. The facility where the operation is conducted
Your choice of the type of facility where to have the surgery will also have a huge impact on the cost. Major hospitals would charge higher than foot clinics for the obvious reason that clinics that specialize in foot injuries will most likely deal with more foot patients and, therefore, offer lower bunion surgery costs.
3. The surgeon’s expertise and reputation
With reports of bunion surgery not being successful all the time, you would want to increase your chances of positive results by choosing a very skilled surgeon. However, this comes with a hefty price tag, as with any other service that involves expertise.
4. The patient’s location or state of residence
If you live anywhere on the east or west coast, the average cost of bunion surgery is around $4,600. But if you are residing in the southern part of the U.S., then the average cost is relatively lower than the former, which is about $3,900.
However, these are just average costs. Actual prices always vary based on the availability of the treatment and how competitive the cost is in a particular town or city. The best way to know the real cost is to do research within your locality.
5. Whether the patient has insurance coverage or not
If you have health insurance, the cost goes down significantly. On that note, the price of bunion surgery with insurance usually depends on the coverage of your health insurance plan.
There are cases when the cost of bunion surgery is not covered. This is because such a medical operation can be considered a cosmetic or palliative treatment, which may be frowned upon by some insurance companies.
But assuming that the health insurance plan covers bunion surgery, the usual out-of-pocket expense for this operation consists of a copayment of 10% to 15%. It means you have to pay a part of the total cost.
For instance, if the overall cost of the bunion surgery reaches $10,000, then you will have to pay within the range of $1,000 to $1,500. The rest of the expenditure is paid by your insurance provider.
Included in the bunion surgery prices beside the actual procedure are as follows:
- Doctor’s Fees
Aside from the cost of the surgery, you also have to cover your doctor’s professional fees for the performance of the medical procedure. It can either be included in the package deal or be a separate fee.
You may need to spend more on your doctor’s fees if you require medical care and treatment after the operation.
In most cases, the administration of anesthesia has a separate billing. It also includes the payment for the services of the anesthesiologist before and after the medical operation.
- Medical Facilities
Generally, bunion surgeries are done in an outpatient surgery department or center. For this, you will pay for the pre-surgical tests, operating room fees, as well as the medications and supplies used during the medical operation.
What Exactly is a Bunion?
A bunion, which is medically known as hallux valgus, is a joint deformity at the base of the big toe that has no clear or distinct cause. However, according to NHS UK, the possible causes are arthritis, genetics, medical conditions like cerebral palsy and Marfan syndrome, or too–fitting shoes.
It is characterized by the big toe pointing to the other toes on the same foot. This causes the deviation of the first metatarsal to stick from its position.
It swells and sores and becomes more painful when you wear a pair of closed footwear. This is especially so since the toe could not flex properly in a tight space.
Other Options For Paying Bunion Surgery
If you don’t have health insurance and the cost of bunion removal is too high for your budget, there are other options that you can try. For one, a lot of hospitals and clinics offer affordable payment plans to match your income or capacity to pay.
There are also financial institutions that offer a credit card designed to pay for medical costs such as consultation fees, surgery, and the use of medical equipment and facilities. Access One and Care Credit are two of the most popular companies in the U.S. that offer a medical credit card line.
They don’t only work with clients who already have a credit line. They are also preparing to provide services to people who currently don’t have an outstanding credit history or those who have a poor credit history.