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What Factors Contribute to the Cost of Knee Replacement Surgery?

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  • Written By: A. Garrett
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2016
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The cost of knee replacement surgery depends on the type of knee replacement surgery required by the patient, the sort of knee replacement implant used, and the difficulty of the procedure. Due to the intricate nature of knee surgery and the high level of skill necessary to perform such procedures, these surgeries can prove to be very costly. Artificial joints are also required for total knee replacement procedures and their costs vary based on the material they are comprised of and the function they will be expected to serve. Depending on the extent of the wear and tear or injury of the knee, these operations can be simple or convoluted; the more complicated the surgery, the higher the cost. Fortunately, most insurance providers cover the cost of knee replacement surgery.

Total knee replacement surgery is the most expensive type of procedure done on the knee; partial knee replacement is emerging as an affordable alternative for people whose joints are less damaged. During these procedures, the patient is placed under anesthesia. Once the patient is unconscious, doctors use precise machines and medical instruments to remove bone and cartilage around the knee. A knee replacement implant customized to suit the individual patient is then inserted into the cleared out area. The anesthesia, surgeon’s time spent operating on the knee, and the tools used during the surgery all contribute to the cost of knee replacement surgery.

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The implant used also contributes to the cost of knee replacement surgery. Some medical device companies have developed brand-name replacement joints that they market directly to the consumer. Knee replacements that rotate are typically the most expensive because they mimic the range of motion associated with a normal knee. Standard knee replacement parts are the cheapest due to their generic nature. Progress in modern technology has allowed for most people to settle for custom implants which better suit the individual, but do not provide as much flexibility as rotating knee replacement implants.

The type of procedure a patient is actually receiving also influences the cost of knee replacement surgery. Longer, more complicated surgeries usually require longer hospital stays and higher doses or larger amounts of pain medications. Both of those factors increase the cost of knee replacement surgery. Partial knee replacement surgeries reduce the cost of knee replacement surgery because they cause less pain, allow for a faster recovery period, and can be completed in less time than total knee replacement operations.

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