The Ten Most Expensive Medical Procedures

Healthcare is one of the most expensive services offered and it is not something a person can ignore without facing harsh consequences. With huge expansions and advancements in the health sciences, seeking healthcare comes at a costly price and the strain from looking for ways to pay for them when needed results in a lot of stress.

The most expensive services in healthcare are usually the surgical procedures. These procedures are costly due to the advanced technology being used, the skills involved in carrying it out, and the maintenance of the patient before and after it has been performed. Even with insurance, there are some procedures that can cause severe financial crisis and it can be quite difficult to recuperate from such expenses. Here is a list of the top ten most expensive medical procedures.

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10 Tracheostomy ($205,000)

Tracheostomy involves making an opening in the neck and windpipe (trachea) to insert a tube that will be used to help a patient breath. Tracheostomy is done when an obstruction in the airway has caused difficulty in respiration. Other artificial airways are available but are only used for short periods of time since there is a possibility of contracting some infection.

Tracheostomy, on the other hand, is for long term purposes. In itself, the procedure isn’t that expensive as it only involves a simple incision on the throat. Costs are spent more on the post-procedure management. In general, patients who undergo tracheostomy have to stay in the intensive-care unit since the body has to adapt to the new airway. Other expenses go to equipment for daily care of the tracheostomy tube and the long admission period in the hospital.

9 Kidney Transplant ($262,900)

One of the most common but complicated chronic illnesses is kidney failure. Kidneys do not only function as an excretory organ, but it is also vital in circulation, hormonal balancing, and other systematic processes. A kidney transplant is very difficult as they are one of the most vital organs. Another problem with kidney transplants is the costs of finding a donor.

After the surgery, recovery will take days in the hospital. Once the patient is at home, he will need to spend thousands of dollars on anti-rejection drugs so that the body will not react negatively to the donor organ. Fortunately, one does not need to undergo a kidney transplant as long as there is an unaffected kidney still functioning.

8 Pancreas Transplant ($289,400)

Pancreas transplants are common among those with pancreatic cancer. The pancreas is responsible for a lot of digestive enzymes and is sensitive to stimulation. Surgeons are therefore careful in removing it and replacing it with a new one. A transplant of this organ will take long hours and the average hospital stay of a patient after the procedure is 21 days.

7 Open Heart Surgery ($324,000)

Many conditions can affect the heart and in exchange, there are many medical procedures that involve its treatment and repair. Open heart surgery can range from the implant of a prosthetic valve to bypassing the coronary artery for improved blood flow. The surgery’s urgency and complication will depend on the kind of procedure being performed. Expenses are used on long hospital stays and constant follow-up consultations. Heart conditions, even after surgery, also need a lot of maintenance medications to keep the organ functioning at optimum level.

6 Liver Transplant ($577,100)

Liver transplant surgery is high-risk since the organ affects the entire body system. Important for detoxifying substances, digestion, clotting factors and other functions, the dangers during a liver transplant are more life-threatening than most procedures. It is also hard to find a donor, and post-procedure costs include intensive care, medications and follow-up consultations. Unfortunately, liver damage is common among today’s older population, making liver transplant a frequently done procedure.

5 Bone Marrow Transplant ($676,800 for allogenic; $300,400 for autologous)

Bone marrow transplant in itself does not have to be a complex procedure. Depending on where the donor comes from, surgery is not even necessary. Bone marrow can be received by the patient in the form of a blood transfusion, needing only an intravenous access point. Expenses will come mostly from laboratory studies. This includes marrow research for donors, harvesting, and testing. Another very serious matter is the donor. The procedure is close to painless for the patient, but the donor usually experiences intense pain during harvesting and it can last up to weeks.

4 Lung Transplant ($797,200 for double; $561,000 for single)

A lung transplant is expensive because the procedure involves one of the most delicate vital organs and needs a machine to artificially perform breathing for the patient. The risks involved in a lung transplant are severe respiratory infection, lung collapse, and even respiratory arrest. Hospital costs include long admission, the need for a respiratory therapist, artificial airway equipment if the transplant fails, and a series of medications to prevent infection, rejection of the donor tissue and to promote respiratory functioning.

3 Heart Transplant ($997,000)

More than twice as expensive as open heart surgery, the heart transplant procedure is a high risk surgery. Like the lung transplant, equipment is needed to replace the organ. This therefore means having a machine pumping blood for you. The patient is more likely than not to spend time in the intensive care unit. Like the other transplants, medications, extensive hospital stay, and follow-ups are needed.

2 Heart-Lung Transplant ($1,148,400)

If heart transplant and lung transplant alone is risky, a heart-lung transplant will double the dangers of the procedure. The majority of costs come from hospital admission, diagnostic tests, and laboratory tests. The patient will then need to undergo extensive follow-up consultations and even rehabilitation therapy for optimum health.

1 Intestine Transplant ($1,206,000)

The gastro-intestinal tract connected all together makes the largest and longest organ in the body. The surgery is intensive as it takes long hours to remove and replace the intestinal tract one by one. The most common candidates are those with intestinal cancer, irreversible damage from trauma, and sometimes severe gastro-intestinal tract infection.

Intestine transplant can take up to an entire day to finish and then intensive care is most likely to follow. The intestine transplant may include a liver transplant depending on the severity of the patient’s condition. Similar to heart-lung transplant, hospital expenses can reach up to $800,000 in hospital admission and pre-operation stay alone while the rest goes to post-operation expenses.

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