How Much Does a Torn Meniscus Surgery Cost?

A meniscus tear is a common knee injury. Older people tend to experience it as the said “cushions” are worn out through time. Causes of torn menisci also include twisting and turning, lifting something heavy, or playing sports.

The so-called “rubber cushions” help keep your knees steady. So, if the injury is severe and symptoms refuse to disappear even after treatment, your doctor might recommend a surgery. Else, you will have a hard time functioning normally.

That said, just how much does a torn meniscus surgery cost?

broken vector image of knee

Average Cost Of Torn Meniscus Surgery

How much does torn meniscus surgery cost in the US? According to HowMuchIsIt.org, prices can go anywhere from $5,000 to a whopping $30,000. This is, of course, assuming that you have no insurance.

ongoing knee surgery

Cost Factors

The exact meniscus tear surgery price will depend on the following factors:

  • Severity of the damage
  • Basically, the procedure will be costlier if your injury is serious as your surgeon might have to do more.
  • Your location
  • If you’re living in “expensive” cities and you opt to undergo the surgery there, you’d likely pay more.
  • The surgeon performing the procedure
  • Some doctors may charge higher fees than others. It will help you to research and compare prices charged by different surgeons.
  • You will pay less if your doctor has a prior agreement with your insurance company.
  • Where you opt to undergo the surgery
  • Hospitals tend to charge more than surgery centers.

Cost Comparisons

As said earlier, the meniscus tear surgery price dramatically changes depending on your location. For instance, the national minimum cost in Plattsburgh, NY is $4,700. The maximum cost, on the other hand, can reach up to $31,600 in Ketchikan, AK.

As for the national average, the cost is $11,900 according to MeniscusTreatment.org. Even the said figure shows that a meniscus surgery in the US is expensive.

That said, the prices for the procedure is potentially lower outside the country. For instance, the average cost of torn meniscus surgery in India and Mexico is about one-third of that in the US.

Note that cheaper prices do not equate to sub-standard services. In fact, you can find some of the best surgeons and world-class healthcare systems in the said countries. Of course, it won’t harm to do an intensive research before you cross boundaries for your knee treatment. Better be safe than sorry, right?

Cost Of Surgery With Insurance

There’s no doubt that a meniscus tear surgery is expensive. Fortunately, insurance companies may help you cover the expenses. HowMuchIsIt.org says that your company may offer at least 60% coverage of the total cost. Of course, the percentage will still depend on their policies, as well as your copays and deductibles.

To know how much you’ll spend on out-of-pocket costs, contact your insurance company.

Additional Costs

The average price we gave you earlier is for the procedure costs only. Depending on the hospital or surgical center, you’ll also have to consider the following expenses:

  • Initial consultation fee
  • MRI fee
  • Diagnostic studies and additional lab work
  • Physical therapy after the surgery
  • Crutches, splints, cast shoes, slings, walking boots, etc.
  • Any hardware or implants necessary to complete the procedure
  • Pain medication
  • Possible overnight stay in the hospital
  • Expenses or fees due to complications (though these rarely happen)

To avoid getting surprised by your bill, confirm the additional costs with the hospital or center. Knowing the prices beforehand will help you prepare a sufficient budget. You can also discuss these expenses with your insurance company as they may cover some of them.

When To Opt For Surgery

A meniscus tear does not mean you will undergo a surgery right away. According to Cigna.com, you can opt for a physical treatment. That is if you only have a small tear at the outer edge of the meniscus. This non-surgical process requires you to rest and use ice, compression, elevation, and some therapy.

That said, when do you need a surgery? Your doctor may recommend you to proceed if you have:

  • A moderate to large tear at the outer edge of the meniscus
  • A tear that spreads from the red zone to the inner two-thirds of the meniscus
  • A tear in the white zone of the meniscus

Consequently, there are different types of surgical approach to a meniscus tear. These include:

  • A surgical repair (to sew the tear together)
  • A partial meniscectomy (to remove the torn section of the meniscus)
  • A total meniscectomy (to remove the entire meniscus)

Note that professionals advising you to undergo a total meniscectomy are rare. That is because the said procedure can increase the risk of osteoarthritis in the knee.

Other Reasons To Opt For Surgery

Some other reasons for undergoing the surgery include:

  • Feeling pain even after resting and applying physical therapy on the knee
  • “Locking up” of the knee
  • To reduce the risk of future joint problems such as osteoarthritis
  • To help return your knee to normal especially if you are an active person

Considerations

You might want to consider how old you are if you are planning to undergo a meniscus tear surgery. Generally, tears due to old age will be hard to repair. Instead, removing parts or all of your menisci will be the solution.

Younger people, on the other hand, may get well with just a repair. Fixing the meniscus will also help restore the knee. So, it’s often the first choice for those who have an active lifestyle.

Also, consider the success rate of the said procedure. This surgery relieves symptoms 85% of the time. It is most successful to patients who have the following qualities:

  • Younger
  • Have knees with good stability
  • Have longitudinal tears or radial tears occurring in the red zone
  • If the repair is performed by the surgeon one week after the injury

Of course, there are also risks when it comes to repairing or removing your meniscus. These include:

  • Infection
  • A blood clot in the leg
  • Damage to nerves or blood vessels
  • Risks of anesthesia
  • A feeling of pain and joint stiffness after the surgery
  • Remember these considerations before you go ahead with the procedure. Ultimately, if it can help you return to your normal activities, a meniscus tear surgery is worth a try.

    Just be careful not to injure your knees again after the surgery.

Author Bio

Dr. B. Thuy Le, MD

B Thuy Le got educated from SUNY Downstate Medical School and received certification from American Board of Otolaryngology. She is specialized in ENT care.
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