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How Much Does Bunion Surgery Cost?

Jan 13, 2013 by     14 Comments    Posted under: Health & Beauty

Cost & Price Overview of Bunion Surgery

Bunion surgery costs average $3,000 to $4,700, depending on the complexity of the procedure and where the patient lives. The average cost of bunion surgery nationwide is $3,263. The lowest prices for this type of surgery tend to be in the southern US with costs averaging $3900, while the east and west coasts have the highest fees averaging $4,600.

Bunions are a painful condition of the foot and are often the result of wearing shoes that are too narrow, have high heels or a combination of both. The constant stress on the tendon in the upper-mid foot of the big toe cannot contract properly since there is not enough room in the shoe for the toe to flex properly. Instead of flexing upward when walking, the toe pushes toward the second toe mis-aligning the joint. While there are many bunion treatments available, such as new shoes, anti-inflammatory drugs, or orthotics, some sufferers only find relief through surgery.

Why Have Bunion Surgery?

Surgery is generally performed by a podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon. Studies cited by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons show an 85% – 90% post-surgery satisfaction rate. Surgery is not considered the first line of treatment for bunions. Surgery is generally only considered under the following circumstances:

  • The pain limits the patient’s daily activities.
  • The big toe is chronically inflamed and the inflammation is not responding to rest or medication.
  • The toe no longer able to bend or straighten.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs no longer provide relief from bunion pain.
  • All other treatments, including orthotics, shoe changes and anti-inflammatory drugs, fail to resolve the pain.

Types of Surgery

There are five types of surgery available to correct bunions. The surgeon will determine which type of surgery is best based on the deformity and other factors such as the patient’s age and physical condition.

  1. Repair of Tendons and Ligaments. This surgery shortens the ligaments that have become too loose and loosens the tendons and ligaments that are too tight to realign the toe into proper position.
  2. Arthrodesis. In this procedure, the surgeon removes the damaged surfaces of the joint and inserts metal screws or plates to hold the joint together until it has completely healed. This procedure is only used in patients with severe arthritis, serious structural deformities or when other procedures fail.
  3. Exostectomy. This procedure removes only the bump from the outer edge of the toe if the toe has not drifted. It is rarely used since it does not address the cause of the bunion.
  4. Resection Arthroplasty. This procedure “creates a flexible ‘scar’ joint” by removing the damaged part of the joint (orthoino.aaos.org). This is generally done in older patients, those with serious arthritis, or who have had previously unsuccessful bunion surgery.
  5. Osteotomy. This procedure surgically cuts and realigns the joint.

Bunion Surgery Cost Breakdown

The cost of bunion surgery is broken down into three components.

  1. Surgical Repair/Physician’s Fee. This fee includes the physician’s charge to do the procedure and any post-operative care that is required.
  2. Facility Services. Bunion surgery is generally performed in an outpatient surgery center. This fee includes pre-operative testing, operating room fees, supplies and any medications that are provided during the surgery.
  3. Anesthesia Services. Anesthesia is generally billed separately and includes the time the anesthesiologist is administering anesthesia and any pre or post-operative services.

Surgery is a serious undertaking and patients should discuss all their options with their doctor prior to any procedure. However, for those unable to find relief from non-surgical options, bunion surgery may be the best way to become pain free.

14 Comments + Add Comment

  • What is the average cost of Bunion Surgery and straightening of the 2nd and 3rd toe. My big toe has caused the second and third toe to curve away from the big toe. The 2nd and 3rd toe appear longer than the 2nd and 3rd toes on the other foot too.

  • I’m having a chevron bunionectomy done in August 22, this is a simple procedure.
    I live in Key West, Fl. on a chain of islands 100 miles from the Florida City (2.5 hour drive).

    Since it is an out patient, the hospitals’ estimate is $21,316.67, but since I have no insurance and I am paying up front in full on my credit card- the hospital is taking 64% off so it would be $7,674.00;
    The anesthesiologist is taking 53% off so I would pay up front in full $550.00;
    The surgeon/physician is taking 55% off his bill if I pay up front in full.
    In Key West it is roughly between $9,000 to $9,750 to have a bunionectomy.

    In Ohio My brother had a bunionectomy done on his one foot and cost a little over $10,000.
    Your info on cost of bunionectomy is off, you forgot the cost has gone up, and never factored in the hospital, anesthesiologist or surgeon/physician.

    • My bunion surgery cost 16,000 before the insurance kicked in, but judging by the way the bill was written, it appears they double billed me for some supplies and pharmacy costs, so we’re going to have a little talk about this, and I;m going to ask for proof if I’m not satisfied.

    • I stand corrected the hospital would be over $53,000, but they are taking 64% off. The operation is out patient and a very simple procedure with no difficulties; I asked my doctor who performed the procedure himself. The hospital charged me roughly $10,080.00, now I got another bill in the mail from the hospital saying I owe $13,000. So, in effect I would be paying a little over $23,000, but I am going to show the hospital I paid $10,780 ( $7440.69 at the hospital on day of surgery and $3340.20 from their online HMA portal… The Health Management Associates owns 23 hospitals/medical centers in FL, especially the Lower Keys Medical Center her in Key West). My husband makes a modesty check, I have no job, but will be looking in Nov/Dec, and hopefully we can afford insurance with me working.

      Tzipporah you made me realize the LKMC may be doing the same thing. We will go in Monday to billings Dept. to see if there was a mistake, (I wonder if there is a lack of communication here). We have proof of paying online the $3344.20 plus in hospital pre- pay of 7440.69… so I should owe less like around under $3000.

      • Tzipporah, I am glad I read your post, and had a discussion with my husband; We looked over the hospital bill and find there are 5 to 8 charges in each category, which are repeats… I couldn’t believe I overlooked this; I was only in the out patient OR for an hour and was told what was being used and what to expect; I had simple chevron osteotomy operation with no complications. 3 weeks post op there is no pain or discomfort. Doctor Loeffler is the best Orthopedic Surgeon I could ask for.
        I am still investigating, so, waiting for the hospital’s billing department to call and ask questions and I’ll be calling Dr. Loeffler’s office to get his statement.
        I’ll post my results later.

        • Update October

          I called the Hospital of the outrageous charges and they found discrepancy on their part, so I got the adjustment on my bill and only owed $2300 extra. I only paid in full just a bit shy under $10,000.
          My last post op is November 22, YEAH!!

  • Faye’s estimates make me wish I lived in Florida. I just had bunion surgery on one foot in June, 2013 and my total bills (so far) are $40,000. I’m in a suburb of Chicago. I went to an out-patient surgical center, thinking it would be cheaper than a hospital, and their charge was $28,000. The surgeon charged almost $10,000. The anesthesiologist charged $2,000.

    • Marge, I can’t believe your bills are that much. I just started researching prospective podiatrists/orthopedic surgeons around Chicago & suburbs. Guess I’d better also check rates. Maybe in Wisconsin.

  • I went in for surgery and was told by my doctor that the cost is about $4,000.00 a foot and that is what I read everywhere. When the bills came in I was stunned the Oak Brook Surgical Center billed BCBS $45,560.00 for one foot and $29,705.12 for the other foot. I called my doctor and he too was surprised and told me to request an itemized bill, which he is going to look over. BCBS paid the sugical center $$15,854.88 on one bill and $8,995.73 on the other. I the surgical center and asked if there was some mistake and they informed me that the doctor has no idea what they charge; and when I called to question BCBS they told me not to worry because they have a contract with the surgical center and the amounts are all approved. They also told me it was none of my concern since I have a high dedectable of $2,500 and that should be my only concern. I just do not understand how you can be quoted one price and everywhere you look on the internet states the same thing – the cost is around $4,000.00. My doctors bill was only 1164.00 per foot and the anesthesia was $450.00. I was told that what BCBS does is mail out a check to the facilities and then within 90 days the facilities mail aout a pay back check to BCBS and in the end the surgical facility will get around $4000.00 but the patient and their employers have no idea of this.

  • Hello, your prices are way off. $17,000+ before insurance for 1 foot in FL. The hospital outpatient cost was $12,000 alone.

  • Never trust what a Dr tells you it’s going to cost. Here they are griping to pharma reps about drug costs and they never tell patients the truth about their costs! Best thing to do is not allow these foot Drs to operate unless absolutely necessary. Take care of your feet and wear comfortable shoes!

    • I didn’t have a choice as to what footware to don when I was 5 years old and my parents were very good at making sure I had wide enough shoes for my feet. Please believe me when I tell you my bunions are genetic. My similiarly afflicted relatives on my maternal grandfather’s side would be most grateful, too. We have had up to 10 relatives stand in a line with our bunions lined up. Even with this demonstration, some people are too ignorant and set in their ways to even see the uncanny similiarity of our bunions. And our bunions are SEVERE.

  • I am sick to death of people telling me I have bunions because my parents were too ignorant to buy me the right size shoes. I have had bunions since I was about 5 or 6 years old. AND IT IS GENETIC!! EVERY member of my maternal grandfather’s family has GENETIC bunions. I have lived in pain ALL of my life and that pain has precluded me from EVER wearing high heeled shoes. I grew up envying all the other girls who could flaunt their ultra pretty feet in lovely shoes while I was stuck hiding my hideous feet in combat boots. I am addicted to platforms because they are the only decent looking footware I can wear without constantly biting back tears of pain. It SUCKS! REALLY, REALLY SUCKS! And I am biting mad at the belittling comments from ignorant know-it-alls. Now I am seriously considering surgery because the pain is too much and too damned frequent -like in ALL the time. I was hoping to see the “non-genetic cause” only theory being debunked on this kind of site. Now I wonder if I will ever get a reprieve from the ignorance. By the way, the podiatrists will, and have, backed me up. But no one else will. I am so bummed.

  • My Son is 13 with bunions just like his Dad. His Dad had surgery on his bunion 2 years ago at age 52. We are very careful what we put on our feet. He wears orthopedics from the Walking Store. I will wait for his feet to reach maturity and then he will have bunion surgery on both feet. I have one bunion on my right foot. I also have pronation. I wear brooks sneakers which helps. Any other shoe that touches the bunion makes it painful and my right toe has turned with a callus. I don’t think my bunion is hereditary but the pronation is.

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