brain illustration

Aside from a normal beating heart, another equally important organ in the body that you need to keep functioning well is the brain. If the heart keeps you alive, the brain makes living a worthwhile journey.

It works just like a computer which processes large amounts of information gathered from the various senses of the body and sends back these signals for us to be able to act and react accordingly to different circumstances and stimuli.

But what happens when our brains were invaded by foreign bodies trying to destroy them like the tumors, blood clots, deformities or abnormalities? Not only would our functionalities be compromised but our memories as well, which are perhaps the most precious possession we have in all our existence as a human being.

Good thing that technologies have made it all possible to eliminate these nuisances through a surgery. Although one of the riskiest in all of the types of surgeries known to man, it is far better to have at least one shot at getting the normal life you want while remembering all the people and places you have made the happy memories with.

So if you or a loved one is a possible candidate, you would be interested to know how much does brain surgery cost and the different factors that affect the price.

surgeons performing invasine surgery

Average Cost of Brain Surgery

The cost of brain surgery depends on the type of condition that the patient may have.  But according to, the average cost of craniotomy or the skilled neurosurgical procedure performed by removing a section of the skull to expose the brain and to be able to perform the needed treatment is a little over $80,000.

Some of the average cost of brain surgery per condition is as follows:

  • Brain aneurysm repair – $64,952 (price range: $51,961 to $162,380)

This is to correct an aneurysm which is the weak area in a blood vessel that causes it to bulge or sometimes rupture and causes bleeding around the brain or also known as subarachnoid hemorrhage.

  • Brain shunt surgery – $21,939 (price range: $17,551 to $54,847)

This type of surgery is performed to insert a narrow piece of tubing called the brain shunt which relieves pressure on the brain by draining excess fluids to a different part of the body. This is typically performed for patients with hydrocephalus.

  • Brain tissue removal surgery – $32,753 (price range: $26,202 to $81,882)

As the name suggests, this involves removal of an area of abnormal tissue in the brain such as scar, tumor, or the specific area of the brain tissue where seizures begin in case of epilepsy.

  • Brain tumor removal – $34,315 (price range: $27,452 to $85,787)

This is similar to the brain tissue removal surgery; only that, this is specifically performed for those who either have a benign or malignant brain tumor.

  • Chiari malformation surgery – price range: $30,000 to $40,000

This is a type of surgery performed when there are structural defects in the base of the skull and cerebellum causing the latter to extend below the foramen magnum and into the upper spinal canal. This is done through the removal of a small section of the skull and small portion of the top vertebrae to create some space.

What are Included

The inclusions in the brain surgery rate may differ depending on the surgeon or the facility where the surgery is to be performed. But most craniotomy includes the following:

  • The facility fee that includes the use of operating room plus the expected number of days-stay at the hospital.
  • The surgeon’s fee which includes the cost of doing the procedure as well as the routine postoperative care.
  • The cost of anesthesia required to effect within the duration of the procedure.
  • The cost of equipment, tools, and supplies needed in performing the surgery.

Additional Costs

There are a lot of tests and imaging to be performed prior to the surgery to be able to identify where the pathology is exactly located and to be able to determine whether you have the ideal numbers in your blood chemistry and urinalysis as well as ideal condition on your ECG and X-rays in order to qualify for the surgery.

The patient may incur additional costs mostly from complications such as speech problems, memory issues, imbalance and mobility, coordination, blood clots, seizures, stroke, coma, and brain swelling.

All the issues mentioned above needs immediate additional medical attention except for the speech problems which typically needs a speech therapy to correct.

Depending on the doctor’s recommendation, a physical therapy and occupational therapy might also be required after the surgery.

Patients with cancer would be referred to an oncologist for further treatment.

Once you leave the hospital after surgery, some follow up visits, additional imaging, and diagnostic tests may also be required aside from the physical therapy to ensure that the surgery is a success and no complications have taken place.

There are also indirect costs that you might consider as a result of the surgery such as your need to take a leave of absence from work and the paid leaves may only be limited to certain days. You may not also be able to do household chores and may need some cleaning service. You may also be needing to hire someone to temporarily take care of the children until you fully recover.

Shopping for Brain Surgery

Your general physician would normally refer you to a neurosurgeon when he or she thinks you need further evaluation. But if you want to locate one yourself, the American Academy of Neurology provides a locator for their member neurologist just by simply filling in the required information.

Factors Affecting Brain Surgery Cost

Location – expect the cost to differ depending on the location of the surgeon or the hospital where the surgery is to take place because of the cost of living and cost of doing business in a particular area.

Facility – some facilities may charge higher compared to others due to a more advanced equipment and technology used in the performance of the surgery.

Surgeon – the experience and expertise of the surgeon is a given factor in terms of the pricing as the more advance these qualities of the doctor are, the more you are assured that you would get the quality of service which also translates to peace of mind.

Type of surgery – the type of method or treatment employed in the case of the patient can hugely affect the brain surgery rate as these methods are priced differently depending on the technology involved and the effectiveness to treat different types of illness.

Condition – the same type of surgery applied to different conditions may cost differently depending on the type of illness or condition that the patient may have.

Type of anesthesia or sedation – the type of anesthesia used to operate certain types of conditions may differ due to the different needs as there are brain surgeries that need the patient to stay awake for the duration of the surgery while others are not required.

Other treatments performed in conjunction – some conditions may require more than just a brain surgery and can be performed in conjunction with other treatments such as aneurysm clipping in the case of a brain aneurysm and pathology or biopsy in the case of a brain tumor.

Insurance – brain surgeries are typically covered by insurance so be sure to ask your provider about the coverage so you would know if you need to spend on out-of-pocket expenses come billing time.

Cash payment – some facilities and hospitals give 10% to 35% discount to patients without insurance who are paying either in cash or credit cards.

Additional Information

There are several types of craniotomy which can be based on different categories. Some of these include:

  • According to location
    • Frontal craniotomy
    • Temporal craniotomy
    • Parietal craniotomy
    • Occipital craniotomy
    • Pterional craniotomy
  • According to method
    • Keyhole Craniotomy
    • Stereotactic Craniotomy
    • Awake Craniotomy

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