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How much does ACL reconstruction cost?


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I am considering ACL reconstructive surgery - what kind of cost do I have to expect. I live in the USA.


The answer to how much *you* will have to pay varies on many factors, in particular on whether you have health insurance and how much your insurance will cover.

In my case I was diganosed (from an MRI) that I had a torn ACL but my meniscus seemed ok according to the MRI.

During the surgery they found that the meniscus was partially torn (75% tear) and they stitched it.

Every service in this procedure is billed and paid separately:

- your doctor who orders the MRI
- the MRI
- the surgeon who performes the ACL reconstruction
- the anesthesia
- the surgeon's assistant(!)
- the hospital (facility) where it all happens
- afterwards the physical therapy

The following numbers will be first what each instance was billed at, followed in () how much I actually paid. Note that my insurance negotiated in most cases on the billable amount, e.g. the facility was billed by the hospital at $2081 for those 4 hours, my insurance negotiated it down to $1600, the insurance paid $1440 and I paid $160.

- your doctor who orders the MRI
$700 ($260)

- the MRI
fully paid by insurance

- the surgeon who performes the ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair
$2500 ($250)

- the anesthesia
$2000 ($250)

- the hospital (facility) where it all happens
$2000 ($160)

- afterwards the physical therapy
$70 ($15) per visit, expect 16-24 visits = ~ $300 co-pay

I would say that the surgery is definitely worth it if you plan to live an active lifestyle. It sure depends also on at what stage in life you are. After the surgery make sure to get the leg *fully* straight right away or you are looking into several months of painful attempts to stretch a shortened muscle. (That's what happened to me, unfortunately.)

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2009-09-01, 09:57:56
anonymous from Canada  
I tore my ACL Last summer playing on my soccer team. I am a girl and have always been very competetive into sports especially soccer. My older sister had jsut torn her ACL the year before yet I hadn't paid any attention to that thinking it wouldn't happen too me. However once it was torn that was when I started reading into all the information. It's common for young female soccer players to aquire this injury, and a good warm up and stretching is very important as well which I did not know. I don't mean to go on and on but if I had known that little bit of information above before it would have saved me alot of greif. I am now fully recovered after my surgery last fall, thankfully I had a very fast recovery of about 4 months after surgery which isn't very common. I was back into sports right when I got the okay from my physio therapist, with a very expensive brace mind you, but the surgery was deffinatly worth it. The cost wasn't a issue for my family I don't think because of our health care, but my brace was over a thousand so Im very intent on making sure people know about this injury so they can prevent getting it all together.
For soccer I am now on a much higher level team, and though its hard since I am still on the brace for fear of reinjurying myself Im happy that Im finally back into it. I intend on having my brace off for sports by volleyball season this year.
Good luck to anyone who has this injury. Trust me, the harder you work at it, the faster you can be back to doing what you love.
2009-09-20, 02:07:36
anonymous from Canada  
I've torn both ACLs (the right one in 1993, the left in 2003). Cost here in Canada is free (free in the sense that the surgery is covered using federal tax dollars).

The biggest drawback in Canada was the wait times for the surgery: seven months for the one in 1993, and eleven months for my right knee in 2003. However, I'm okay with the wait time vs. paying through the nose for a quicker surgery. Both surgeons were very well-qualified, although the second guy was a grade A asshole.

I can't figure the American people out- why some of them believe that adding health care to the core tenets of government (education, defense, infrastructure, etc.) will turn a country into a totalitarian state.

I don't want the government running every aspect of my life anymore than the next person, but it is reassuring to know that if medical &!*#$ happens, the cost is spread out amongst 30 million people, that I or a fellow Canadian will be looked after. It's about community, not every man for himself...
2009-09-24, 22:42:29
anonymous from United States  
i pulled something out of my knee now its a little lump right at my foot where the tounge of my shoe hits just started with a new company my insurance doesnt start for another month anyone no what this might be
2009-10-05, 13:00:32
At age 64 they are not talking surgery for a torn acl and mensical tear but am starting physical therapy for a month. I'm not sure if this is good or not. Should surgery be a factor or am I good without it. I am pretty active and don't want to worry about every step I take. I will be getting a brace tomorrow but don't want to be tied to it for the rest of my days. Comments?
2009-10-15, 12:04:45   (updated: 2009-10-15, 12:09:06)
anonymous from United States  
Hi, I injured my knee around October 2005 playing basketball. I could not get it checked out with a sports injury specialist because I didn't have insurance at the time but an athletic trainer friend took a look at my knee but could not determine the exact injury, only that it could very well be minescus and/or ligament damage. Several months past by and after getting a somewhat good job that provided some health insurance I went to see a doctor that specialized more in sports injuries as well as knee injuries, he ordered an MRI scan to be done but because my insurance did not approve the scan to pay for it I didn't continue. It's October 2009, during these past few years I have tried get back to sports activities but my knee is just to unstable to really get back to some extent. Before the injury I was really active in sports and I would really like to get back to that, Lord willing. I am still in my late 20s, I am still young, and lately I have been hampered by the injury because just trying to sustain a light exercise rutine is tough because of pain and weakness in the knee, and/or of fear of (reaggravating) worseing the injury (which has happened a few times already).
I have read about the cost of the surgery and I am worried about that as well, and only because I don't think my health insurance would be willing to pay for most of it, or at least half. I am single but looking to get married and having a family. I just think that I would love to be able to play ball with my wife and kids without worry of being hampered by an injury like this. Oh yea and I am a rookie basketball coach who desires to get out there and run with his team every now and then jaja.
I just want to ask if it would be worth it for me, in my case, to have the surgery?
2009-11-06, 01:28:47
anonymous from United States  
i am a 23 year old male from costa rica living in the us to attend college, who enjoys to play soccer and basketball and just being outside to go for hikes, biking around and rock climbing, yet to mention snowboarding and surfing. i am a pretty active dude. i was playing soccer, and heard a crack and hit the ground. after about 4 min, i was able to get up and actually walk away from the injury. now, a week later, after seeing a sport athlete therapist who said i was doing pretty well, i am starting to worry about not having health insurance and seeing that my visit came out to be around $430. thank god, but they arranged an MRI for me and the place said that they would do if for free!! i can't believe it still... amazing people. i have been telling the doc and nurses my story and i guess they sympathize. anyways, i am wondering if health insurance would even consider picking me up. fortunately, i haven't had any other serious conditions like this in my life, so i am curious to know if they would take that into consideration (doubtful). i have been reading online and read something about there being a pre-existing conidtion exclusion period. does anyone know more about this? do you think that i wouldn't get accepted, and if so, would I be covered? any and all help is appreciated...
and good luck to everyone in this forum...
2009-11-09, 18:40:41
anonymous from United States  
I am curious as to what the tax structure is like in Canada with all this free health care.

State, proovince, local, town, country etc. What's your govt taxes?
2009-11-26, 13:58:22   (updated: 2009-11-26, 14:02:56)
kcassanova from Canada  
WOW, I had a ACL reconstructed when I was 22 and I paid zero dollars, its quite strange for me to imagine that I would have to bring my wallet when I go to the hospital. I had choice of doctor, hospital...although I had to wait 2 months but at 22 yrs old that was preferable to trying to come up with 30K while in college.

In Canada if you make over 110K/yr your in the highest bracket so expect to pay about 45-48% under 30K pay about 19% thats fed, provincial and local. We are taxed to death here but get a lot in return.
2009-12-17, 19:36:58
anonymous from Canada  
I'm sorry to hear you tore your ACL, but I encourage you to look on the bright side because I'm sitting here typing this with a torn ACL and MCL and I do not wish a torn MCL on my worst enemies and would have my ACL torn 10 times over if it were to mean my MCL had not been torn.
To the comment from the person from Turkey, I don't know what you've read, but we in CANADA do not pay for anything related to the ACL reconstruction process, (except for braces and crutches). Besides, who's going to trust a surgery taken place in a less qualified middle eastern country at a discount or 'half the price'.
Best of luck to you mate, hope you get well soon
2009-12-20, 05:42:30  
I have to laugh at the people complaining about not having insurance. The United States is a great country of freedom and you choose to buy insurance or not. I see these people complain but yet they buy booze, cigarettes, drive a car they cannot afford. Get your priorities straight food, shelter, INSURANCE. It is not my job to take care of you. It is not your place to punish people who work harder than you do or are smart enougth to buy insurance instead of supporting vices.
2009-12-21, 20:44:22
anonymous from Manila, Philippines  
Wow ACL reconstruction costs so much in the states. Here in Manila I had it done at one of the best hospitals you can compare its lobby to a 5-star hotel. surgeon charged me $1,200, anesthesiologist $500, and the hospital for the room and 3 days stay with meds another $2,000. Total roughly around $4,000 dollars.
2010-01-28, 14:43:10
anonymous from Christiansburg, United States  
I torn my ACL in January 17th,2010 and had a sprained MCL while I falled down on the skiing lane in West Virginia. I am not really atheletic female, but like skiing, swimming, jogging. I am really wondering if it will affect my life by not doing the surgery and giving up something like skiing. I worried about the surgery a lot which sounds horrible to me with cutting my own ligment and drilling holes in the bone. Thank you if you can give a personal experience or recommend some good surgeon around Blacksburg area.
2010-01-30, 21:42:55
anonymous from Canada  
haha i live in canada and it was free
2010-02-11, 13:31:48 from Barrie, Canada  
I just want to say that this past summer (august 09) i tore my ACL in my left knee playing soccer and I had to undergo physio and then go for an MRI and it was then decided i had to undergo surgery to repair the ligament. I just watched Sicko in my health care in canada class in college and i was shocked by the way Americas health care system is. I am 19 and I am under my mothers insurance and physio is covered completely and my brace i had to get for my acl is originally 1300 it is a DonJoy custom acl brace and i got 80% covered by my moms insurance. i ended up paying about 300$. I am scheduled for my surgery on March 5th 2010, and I am not paying a single cent.

I sympathize everyone who is treated like shit in america.
2010-02-14, 23:50:46
anonymous from Canada  
man i feel bad for you guys,, i live in canada and am going for my second acl surgery on my other knee. and don't pay a dime,, in fact the governent gives me money for being off work,, i couldnt imagine paying 7 grand or more for that surgery even though i would,,, it sucks having a torn ACL,, good luck guys,

Happy canadian
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