Although hernias are not downright dangerous, some cases, if left untreated, could result in intestinal strangulation. To avoid this, one of the recommendations your consultant might give you is to undergo surgery.
For the surgery, you can either opt for open or laparoscopic repair. In an open surgery, your surgeon would create an incision near your hernia. He/she would then work through the incision to repair the weak muscle area.
A laparoscopic procedure, on the other hand, creates small incisions in the abdomen and makes use of an instrument with an attached camera or laparoscope to guide the surgeon in the repair.
In most cases, a laparoscopic procedure is more expensive than the open repair, partially because the former allows faster recovery.
But, if it’s about the exact price, just how much does hernia surgery cost?
Average Cost of Hernia Surgery
According to the Healthcare Bluebook, the average cost of hernia surgery amounts to more than $5,000. This price specifically applies to inguinal, umbilical, and ventral hernia surgery. An inguinal hernia occurs in the inner groin, the umbilical one at the belly button, and the ventral in the general abdominal/ventral wall.
According to statistics, 75% to 80% of patients has an inguinal hernia, which makes it the most common case repaired surgically by doctors.
The exact cost varies depending on the hospital or surgical clinic. If you opt for a surgical clinic or center, fees including the surgical fee, anesthesia, and operating room charges are included in the total price. On the other hand, if you’re getting a surgery from a hospital, chances are that you would also have to shoulder laboratory fees which are separate from the total cost of the surgery itself.
You should also factor in your surgeon’s fee in computing the exact cost. Lastly, your location would affect the price of the surgery.
For instance, New Choice Health listed that the hernia repair price range in Miami, Florida is $1,600 to $4,400 while the cost in Dallas, Texas runs from $1,500 to $4,100. Other samples of price ranges in different locations include:
- Houston, TX $1,600 to $4,300
- Washington, DC $1,800 to $4,900
- Phoenix, AZ $1,950 to $5,300
- New York City, NY $1,850 to $5,000
- Los Angeles, CA $2,250 to $6,200
- Chicago, IL $1,600 to $4,400
- Philadelphia, PA $1,750 to $4,800
- Atlanta, GA $1,600 to $4,400
Furthermore, the website included the hernia repair price charged by some surgery centers and hospitals. Of the 30 facilities, two centers namely the Palms Surgery Center and the Advanced Surgical Con charges the lowest, with the price range running from $1,100 to $4,000. Both are based in Los Angeles.
On the other hand, facilities that charge beyond the average cost of $5,000 include the Lewes Surgery Center in Delaware with the surgery price reaching up to $5,200 and Hamilton Surgical Services in New Jersey charging up to $5,300. On the other hand, Sutter North Surgery Center and Carlsbad Surgery Center in California both charge a maximum fee of $6,400.
Note also that hospitals tend to charge higher hernia surgery fees. For instance, Wilson Memorial Hospital in Ohio has a price range of $2,400 to $7,500 for the procedure, while Madison Parish Hospital in Los Angeles charges $3,600 to $15,900. The most expensive on the list is the Cameron Memorial Community Hospital in Indiana which charges a fee of $3,900 to $17,100.
Unlike hospitals, surgical centers charge fees only for the hernia surgery itself. Most of the time, tests prior to the procedure would have to take place elsewhere. Thus, centers don’t have to include laboratory fees and other hospital expenses in their rates. With that said, how much does hernia surgery cost in these centers?
Some surgical centers post on their websites how much they charge for a hernia surgery. One example is the Affordable Hernia Surgery based in Rockville, Maryland which has a flat rate of $1,900. The cost already includes the surgical fee, anesthesia, and operating room. The surgical center has surgeons specializing in umbilical and inguinal hernia repairs.
On the other hand, the Hernia Center of Southern California has an average surgery cost of $4,000. According to the center’s website, the price already includes the surgeon’s fees. Also part of the total cost is surgery center expenses such as fees for operating room time, materials like mesh, recovery period, and follow-up visits. Lastly, the average cost also covers the anesthesia fee.
When to Opt for Surgery
Not all hernias are created equal. For instance, some hernias that are small and painless don’t require repair. So, when do you need to opt for hernia surgery?
According to Web MD, you should undergo surgery if your hernia contains a loop of intestine without blood supply. This condition indicates a strangulated hernia and requires emergency surgery.
Another thing is if a hernia is incarcerated or contains a trapped loop of intestine. This hernia should be repaired by a surgeon as soon as possible to avoid strangulation. However, if the strangulation is unlikely to happen, you could schedule the surgery when it is convenient.
Additionally, if your doctor can still push back your hernia into your abdomen and it does not cause discomfort or pain, you could undergo surgery whenever you want.
However, not all people are fit for hernia surgery. For instance, those with cirrhosis has a kind of fluid in the abdomen that increases abdominal pressure. This pressure would only cause the recurring of a hernia, so the repair would be futile. With that said, your surgeon would still be the one to determine if you could still push through the procedure even if you have the said liver condition.
Also, men who suffer from prostate problems should undergo treatment for their condition before opting for hernia surgery.
Of course, it would be best to not agonize over the surgery at all. If you don’t have a hernia, you would never have to worry about the costs that come with its repair.
Thus, in agreement to the adage that prevention is better than cure, you should take precautions to prevent a hernia from wreaking havoc in your abdomen. That includes maintaining an ideal body weight and a healthy diet, as well as exercising.
Preventive measures also include eating fruits, vegetables, and other fiber-rich foods to avoid constipation; lifting objects of which weight is not beyond your ability; and quitting cigarette smoking.
Live a healthy life and save money in the process!