Top 20 Costliest Surgical Procedures Performed in Hospitals

Procedures performed in hospital operating rooms represent a large chunk of healthcare costs, but which procedures cost the system the most?

According to a statistical brief from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, surgical procedures amount to almost half of all costs associated with hospital stays even though they only make up 29 percent of hospital stays.

Certain procedures cost more than others. For example, hospital stays for spinal fusions cumulatively cost more than $12.8 billion in 2011, the most of any OR procedure. Knee replacements and angioplasties were not far behind. These procedures are both expensive and performed frequently.

The surgical procedures with the highest average costs per hospital stay in 2011 were heart valve procedures ($53,400), coronary artery bypass graft surgeries ($38,700) and small bowel resections ($34,500).

Here are the top 20 costliest OR procedures performed in hospitals, according to the AHRQ brief. Together, these 20 procedures accounted for 58 percent of all costs associated with hospital stays involving OR procedures and 27 percent of all hospital costs.

1. Spinal fusion — $12.8 billion ($16,600 per hospital stay)
2. Knee replacement — $11.3 billion ($27,600 per hospital stay)
3. Percutaneous coronary angioplasty — $9.7 billion ($15,900 per hospital stay)
4. Hip replacement — $8 billion ($17,200 per hospital stay)
5. Caesarean section — $7.5 billion ($5,900 per hospital stay)
6. Colorectal resection — $6.7 billion ($23,400 per hospital stay)
7. Coronary artery bypass graft — $6.4 billion ($38,700 per hospital stay)
8. Heart valve procedures — $6.1 billion ($53,400 per hospital stay)
9. Cholecystectomy and common duct exploration — $5 billion ($12,600 per hospital stay)
10. Treatment, fracture or dislocation of hip and femur — $4.3 billion ($16,800 per hospital stay)
11. Procedures related to pacemakers or cardioverters/defibrillators — $4 billion ($33,200 per hospital stay)
12. Abdominal or vaginal hysterectomy — $3.3 billion ($9,300 per hospital stay)
13. Debridement of wound, infection or burn — $2.6 billion ($20,700 per hospital stay)
14. Amputation of lower extremity — $2.6 billion ($21,200 per hospital stay)
15. Appendectomy — $2.4 billion ($9,200 per hospital stay)
16. Small bowel resection — $2.4 billion ($34,500 per hospital stay)
17. Laminectomy — $2.3 billion ($11,500 per hospital stay)
18. Treatment, fracture or dislocation of lower extremity (other than hip or femur) — $2.2 billion ($13,700 per hospital stay)
19. Lobectomy or pneumonectomy — $1.9 billion ($23,000 per hospital stay)
20. Circumcision — $1.9 billion ($2,000 per hospital stay)

More Articles on Hospital Costs:
7 Statistics on Hospital Costs by Diagnostic Category
11 Statistics on Average Hospital Costs Per Stay
Top 20 Most Expensive Inpatient Conditions

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