6 Signs You Should Consider Hip Replacement Surgery

When you’re living with chronic pain, it can be hard to keep track of your symptoms over time. Was walking up the stairs harder today than it was yesterday? How long has putting on your shoes been such a challenge? Questions like these can make it difficult to pinpoint the moment that your hip pain and stiffness are severe enough to need surgery.

Hip replacement is a major procedure, but it can be life-changing for patients with severe hip pain and immobility. If you find yourself nodding along with the points in this post, it may be time to ask your doctor if total hip replacement surgery is the right option for you.

1. Your hip pain keeps you from performing daily tasks.

If your hip joint is damaged by arthritis, osteonecrosis, or injury, you may experience pain and a limited range of motion in the joint. Signs that your hip is damaged enough to need surgery may include experiencing difficulty:

  • Standing for a minute or longer, even with support
  • Walking up or down stairs
  • Putting on socks and shoes
  • Standing up from a seated position
  • Walking a normal distance
  • Standing on one leg, even with support

2. You’re having trouble sleeping.

For some people, living with chronic pain means dealing with a cycle of insomnia and fatigue that gets worse over time. In the short term, sleep disruption can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and memory problems. Long-term sleep problems can cause more severe effects, including increased risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, weight problems, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. 

Good sleep is crucial to your overall health. Make sure your healthcare provider knows if your hip pain is keeping you up at night.

3. Your mental health is affected.

Even if you’re used to your hip issues, that doesn’t mean that the chronic pain and stiffness aren’t taking a toll on your mental health. Chronic pain can lead to the development of mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. 

Whether or not you decide to get a total hip replacement, you should talk to someone you trust if your hip condition is affecting your mental health. Your physician may even be able to recommend a therapist that specializes in treating the emotional symptoms caused by chronic pain.

4. Treatments aren’t helping.

Hip replacement surgery shouldn’t be your first treatment option for your hip pain. Your provider will recommend non-surgical treatments first. These may include pain medication, anti-inflammatory pills or shots, steroid injections, physical therapy, and weight loss. If you’ve tried different treatments for your hip pain and still haven’t found relief, it may be time to talk to your doctor about hip replacement surgery.

5. The damage is getting worse.

Some conditions, such as arthritis, can cause your symptoms to worsen over time. For example, osteoarthritis may damage the cartilage that cushions the bones in your hip joint and prevents them from rubbing against each other as they move. As you use your hip joint, the cartilage wears out even further. This leads to increased pain and stiffness in your hip. In cases like this, your provider may recommend hip replacement surgery to keep the damage in your joint from getting worse.

6. You’re ready for long-lasting relief.

People who undergo hip replacement surgery typically experience increased mobility, reduced pain, and an overall improvement in their quality of life. Their hip replacement may actually help them live longer too, according to one 2018 study.

Many treatments for hip pain can only provide temporary relief. Steroid injections typically only last for a couple of months. Painkillers may only last a few hours. Hip replacement surgery is an alternative that can provide long-lasting relief. Around 95% of hip replacements still function well after 10 years, and, with proper care, many may last 20 years or more.

Is hip replacement surgery worth it?

Treatments for hip pain and immobility can range from over-the-counter medicines to major surgery. To decide which is right for you, you’ll need to work with your healthcare provider to determine the cause of your pain and the extent of damage to your hip joint. 

For some people, hip replacement surgery is the best option to regain the use of their hip joint. If you’re ready to take the next step and schedule a consultation for your surgery, New Choice Health can help. Our Orthopedic Surgery Patient Assist program pairs patients with qualified surgeons at fair, affordable prices. Click here to learn more and get a free quote for your hip replacement.

How much does hip replacement surgery cost?

It’s not always easy to decide whether you should get a hip replacement, especially when the cost of surgery can vary so widely from person to person. Understanding what can affect your “out-of-pocket” price for your hip surgery can help you decide whether the procedure is your best option for long-term pain relief.

What is hip replacement surgery? 

Hip replacement surgery, also called hip arthroplasty, is a potential treatment option when hip pain and immobility keep you from enjoying everyday life. During this procedure, a surgeon removes the damaged bone near the hip joint. Then, they replace it with a prosthesis made of metal and medical-grade plastic. Patients can typically return to their normal activity levels around six weeks after their hip replacement, but it can take six to twelve months to regain full hip strength and mobility.

How much does hip replacement surgery cost?

The average cost of hip replacement surgery in the United States is $39,880, but prices can range from $18,175 to $53,750

The biggest factor that affects what you pay for your hip replacement is where you have the procedure. Inpatient facilities, like a hospitals, typically charge more than outpatient surgery centers. Most hip replacement surgeries are inpatient with a hospital stay of one to three days, but an increasing number of outpatient centers now offer hip replacement surgeries for otherwise healthy patients. 

Outpatient centers are just as safe as hospitals and could save you thousands on your medical bill. 

Based on our data, the target fair price for a hip replacement in the United States is $26,710, whether you have health insurance or not.

  • National Average: $39,880
  • National Range: $18,175 – $53,750+
  • Outpatient Facility Average: $27,220
  • Inpatient Facility Average: $43,370
  • Target Fair Price: $26,710

Read on for a breakdown of other factors that can affect the cost of your hip replacement surgery, as well as what you can do to find a fair price for your procedure.

Hip Replacement Surgery Cost Averages Around the United States

Location Price Range
New York, NY Hip Replacement Cost Average $13,800 – $37,900
Miami, FL Hip Replacement Cost Average $12,300 – $33,600
Phoenix, AZ Hip Replacement Cost Average

 

$14,700 – $40,200

Los Angeles, CA Hip Replacement Cost Average $17,200 – $47,300
Philadelphia, PA Hip Replacement Cost Average $13,900 – $38,100
Atlanta, GA Hip Replacement Cost Average $10,900 – $29,900
Houston, TX Hip Replacement Cost Average $11,800 – $32,500
Washington, DC Hip Replacement Cost Average $12,300 – $33,800
Dallas, TX Hip Replacement Cost Average $12,000 – $32,900
Chicago, IL Hip Replacement Cost Average $12,400 – $34,100

Which factors affect how much a hip replacement costs?

No matter which surgery you get, these three factors will influence how much you end up paying for healthcare:

  • Facility setting — Having your hip replacement surgery done in a hospital as an inpatient costs far more than having the same procedure done in an outpatient center. Since inpatient facilities tend to cost more to run, patients end up paying more for care.
  • Insured or uninsured — The cost of hip replacement surgery can vary between insurance providers, depending on how much of the procedure (if any) your insurance plan covers. If you don’t have health insurance, you can expect to pay for the total cost of the surgery out-of-pocket. 
  • Location — The region, state, and city you live in can affect the cost of your hip replacement. If you live in a rural area with fewer facilities to choose from, you’ll likely end up paying more than you would if you lived in a big city with many providers. Traveling for a medical procedure can be a great money-saving option. However, you should keep in mind that most doctors recommend waiting about a month after hip replacement surgery before traveling long distances. 

Is the price of hip replacement surgery different at inpatient and outpatient facilities?

The cost of hip replacement surgery will vary greatly between inpatient and outpatient facilities. The national average hip replacement cost at inpatient facilities is $43,370, while the same procedure averaged only $27,220 at outpatient facilities.

What is the cost of hip replacement surgery with and without insurance?

Insured patients can typically expect to pay less than uninsured patients for hip replacements, especially when they stay in-network. Nearly everyone who has a hip replacement will have to pay some of the cost out-of-pocket. If you have health insurance, including Medicare, you’ll be responsible for paying your deductible, copay, and/or coinsurance amounts. If you’re uninsured, you’ll be responsible for the total cost of your surgery. 

How important is it to find a provider in your health insurance network?

Your health insurance negotiates special rates with certain healthcare providers and facilities. This makes in-network providers almost always cheaper than out-of-network providers.

More factors that affect the cost of a hip replacement:

  • Cost of the implant — Your artificial hip implant makes up a significant part of the total price of your surgery. The cost of your implant can depend on:
    • The implant brand
    • The materials it’s made of (for example, titanium versus stainless steel)
    • Whether it’s customized or off-the-shelf
    • The supplier your facility uses for their implants 
  • Prescriptions — A physician may prescribe painkillers or antibiotics after your hip replacement surgery. You’ll pay less for your prescriptions if they’re covered by your insurance policy. You can also save money by asking if you can get a generic version of the same medicine. 
  • Additional office visits — Sometimes, you may be charged a separate fee for an initial consultation with your surgeon before the procedure. You’ll also need to schedule follow-up appointments after your hip replacement — usually at six weeks, three months, and one year. Patients often see their doctor once a year after that, unless problems arise. Ask if these follow-up visits are included in the total cost of your procedure.
  • Bundled payments — Sometimes, you may be able to ask for your hip surgery costs to be bundled together into one flat rate. For example, when you work with our Patient Assist program, the price you’re quoted includes:
    • The physician’s fees
    • The facility’s fees
    • Anesthesia fees
    • The cost of all materials used during the surgery
    • Any pathology or lab fees incurred if the physician requests that specimens be studied after your surgery
    • Your initial consultation
    • Up to 3 follow-up visits within 90 days of the procedure

Using a service that allows you to bundle your fees can make it easier to budget for the total cost of your surgery.

Are there alternatives to hip replacement surgery?

If your doctor tells you that you need a hip replacement, it’s usually because you’ve tried non-surgical options, such as medication and physical therapy, without success. Alternatives to hip replacement surgery include:

  • Arthroscopic hip surgeryHip arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive surgery used to repair tendons, remove inflamed or damaged tissue, and shave bone spurs through small incisions made around the joint. This procedure has shorter recovery times than hip replacement surgery. However, it may not help patients whose pain and mobility issues are caused by arthritis. 
  • Hip resurfacing: Like a total hip replacement, hip resurfacing involves implanting an artificial ball and socket into the hip joint. However, in this surgery, the femoral head (top of the thigh bone) isn’t removed completely. Instead, it’s shaved down and covered with a smooth metal covering that acts as the ball in the joint. This surgery is typically only done on younger, more active patients.
  • SubchondroplastySubchondroplasty is a newer alternative to joint replacement. It may be an option for patients whose arthritis hasn’t caused too much damage to the bones in the hip joint. During this procedure, a surgeon injects a bone substitute around the weakened bones. Over time, your body gradually replaces the bone substitute with new bone growth. Subchondroplasty has a shorter and easier recovery time than a total hip replacement. Unfortunately, little information is available about the long-term success of the procedure.

If you’re interested in pursuing an alternative to hip replacement surgery, your doctor should be able to walk you through your different options. You should also feel free to ask another physician for a second opinion before making your decision.

Your hip replacement checklist:

  1. Review the total price of your hip replacement with your surgeon. Ask them to explain what each cost is for and keep a record of your conversation. If you get a higher medical bill than you expected, this information will come in handy.
  2. Ask your surgeon if they can perform the procedure in an outpatient setting. 
  3. Make sure that all providers are in-network, including specialists like anesthesiologists.
  4. Ask what the typical cost is if the surgeon finds other areas that need to be repaired during your hip replacement surgery.

Finding a fair price for your hip replacement

The average cost for hip replacement surgery in the U.S. is $39,880, but you may be able to pay much less for your procedure. New Choice Health’s Orthopedic Surgery Assistance program can help you find financing options and discounted pricing that could lower the total cost of your hip replacement surgery to $24,550

Click here to learn how you can save money on your procedure today.

What happens during hip replacement surgery?

Hip replacement surgery, also called total hip arthroplasty, is a common orthopedic procedure that involves replacing a damaged hip joint with an artificial joint implant. You may consider getting a hip replacement if your hip pain keeps you from doing normal daily activities and nonsurgical treatments aren’t helping. The most common reason to get a total hip replacement is arthritis damage to the hip joint. 

It’s normal to have concerns before any major surgery, even when you’re sure that it’s the best option. Read on for a breakdown of what you can expect from your hip surgery, from the moment you check in to the hospital to when you return home.

(Check out our post on your hip surgery recovery timeline for what you can expect in the days, weeks, and months after your procedure.)

What happens on the day of your total hip replacement?

On the day of your surgery, you’ll check in to the hospital at a scheduled time. Then, you’ll go to your room to take off your regular clothes and put on a hospital gown. Once you’re ready, an anesthesiologist will come in and give you either:

  • A spinal block, which will numb the entire lower half of your body, or
  • General anesthesia, which will put you to sleep for the length of your surgery.

Either way, you won’t feel any pain during your hip replacement procedure. 

After the anesthetic has had time to kick in, the medical team will take you to the room where they’ll perform the surgery. During the procedure, your surgeon will make an incision over your hip and remove the damaged bone and cartilage. Then, they will implant the artificial joint and attach it to the healthy bone left in your hip. The entire hip replacement surgery typically takes about two hours

After your surgery, you’ll be taken to a recovery room for a few hours while your anesthesia wears off. During this time, your medical team will monitor your pain level, pulse, and blood pressure. They may give you additional medication as needed.

Many people can go home the same day as their hip replacement surgery. However, some patients with different medical needs may need to stay one or more nights for observation while they heal. 

What are the different types of hip replacement surgery?

The main types of hip replacement surgery are:

  • Total hip replacement: This is the most common type of hip replacement surgery. During a total hip replacement, a surgeon cuts away the diseased or damaged parts of the hip. Then, they replace the entire joint — ball and socket — with an implant made of metal, ceramic, and medical-grade plastic. They attach the artificial socket to your pelvic bone and connect the ball to a metal stem implanted into the top of your thigh bone.
  • Partial hip replacement: Also called a hemiarthroplasty, this procedure involves replacing only one part of the hip joint. In a partial hip replacement, a surgeon replaces the ball of the joint with an artificial ball and stem implanted into the top of the thigh bone. The socket is left alone. Typically, patients who get this surgery have hip pain is caused by a fracture, not arthritis.
  • Hip resurfacing: Like a total hip replacement, hip resurfacing involves implanting an artificial ball and socket into the hip joint. However, in this surgery, the femoral head (top of the thigh bone) isn’t removed completely. Instead, it’s shaved down and covered with a smooth metal covering that acts as the ball in the joint. This surgery is typically only done on younger, more active patients.
  • Hip revision: For some patients, hip replacement surgery isn’t the end of the story. If your artificial hip joint wears out over time or gets damaged by an infection, you may need hip revision surgery to correct the problem. This procedure involves replacing one or both parts of an artificial hip.

Different approaches to hip replacement surgery

Depending on which hip surgery you choose, there are couple of different ways your surgeon may approach your hip replacement procedure:

  • During anterior hip replacement surgery, the surgeon operates through a single large incision on the front of your hip. The incision typically starts at the top of the pelvic bone and ends at the top of the thigh.
  • Posterior hip replacement surgery uses a large, curved incision on the back and side of the hip.
  • Minimally-invasive hip replacement surgery involves one or more smaller incisions instead of a single large one. In this type of procedure, the surgeon often uses the help of x-ray guidance to help position the implant. Minimally-invasive procedures can involve shorter healing times than open surgeries, but they often require specialized surgical skills and equipment.

Which type of hip replacement surgery is right for you?

If you’ve tried physical therapy, steroid shots, and other nonsurgical treatments for your hip pain without success, it may be time to consider hip replacement surgery. Your healthcare provider will take x-rays and assess the extent of your joint damage to help you decide which type of hip replacement surgery is the right option for you.

Once you’re ready to schedule your hip replacement surgery, your next step is to find a surgeon to perform the procedure at a fair, affordable price. The New Choice Health Orthopedic Surgery Assistance program can help connect you with financing options and cash pay discounts that bring down the total price you pay for your hip replacement.

How much does total knee replacement surgery cost?

Knee replacement surgery, also called total knee arthroplasty, is one of the most common orthopedic procedures in the United States. It may be an option if arthritis in your knee joint is causing you pain and limiting your range of motion. Your knee replacement surgery cost will depend on different factors, such as where you have your surgery and whether you have health insurance.

During this surgery, a physician removes the damaged parts of the bones in your knee and replaces them with an artificial joint made of metal and medical-grade plastic. With proper care, an artificial knee joint may last up to 15 years or more.

What is the average cost of a total knee replacement?

The average cost for total knee replacement surgery in the United States is $32,570, though prices can range from $14,188 to $49,016 or much, much more

The total cost of your knee replacement surgery depends on a few different factors, such as whether you get the surgery in an inpatient facility, like a hospital, or an outpatient surgery center. Outpatient orthopedic procedures are associated with lower costs and faster recovery times. Your healthcare provider will help you determine whether you’re a good candidate for outpatient knee surgery. 

Based on our data, the target fair price for total knee arthroplasty, including the cost of the implant, is $24,680, whether you have health insurance or not.

  • National Average: $32,570
  • National Range: $14,188 – $49,016+
  • Outpatient Facility Average: $25,100
  • Inpatient Facility Average: $41,620
  • Target Fair Price: $24,680

Keep reading for our breakdown on what determines the cost of your knee replacement surgery and how you can find the best price for your procedure.

Knee Replacement Surgery Cost Averages Around the Country

These prices do not include the cost of the knee implant, which can add up to $6,000 – $12,000 to the total cost of your surgery.

Location Price Range
Atlanta, GA Knee Replacement Surgery Cost Average $9,800 – $27,000
Houston, TX Knee Replacement Surgery Cost Average $10,700 – $29,300
Los Angeles, CA Knee Replacement Surgery Cost Average

 

$15,600 – $42,800

Miami, FL Knee Replacement Surgery Cost Average $11,100 – $30,300
New York, NY Knee Replacement Surgery Cost Average $12,400 – $34,100
Philadelphia, PA Knee Replacement Surgery Cost Average $12,500 – $34,300
Phoenix, AZ Knee Replacement Surgery Cost Average $13,200 – $36,200
Washington, DC Knee Replacement Surgery Cost Average $11,200 – $30,600
Chicago, IL Knee Replacement Surgery Cost Average $11,200 – $30,700
Dallas, TX Knee Replacement Surgery Cost Average $10,800 – $29,700

Which factors affect how much total knee arthroplasty costs?

Many things can affect the price that you pay for healthcare. The four main factors that will determine the cost of your knee replacement surgery are:

  • Facility setting — The cost of your knee replacement surgery will depend on where you have it done. Getting a knee replacement in a hospital will be significantly more expensive than having it done in an outpatient center. Inpatient facilities tend to cost more to run, so patients end up paying more for care.
  • Insured or uninsured — If you have health insurance, the cost of your total knee replacement can depend on how much of the surgery your insurance plan covers, if any at all. If you don’t have health insurance, you can expect to pay the entire cost of the surgery out-of-pocket.
  • Location — The cost of knee replacement surgery can vary by state, region, and even city. If you live in a rural area with fewer facilities to choose from, you will probably pay more than you would if you lived in a city with many providers. This is why more and more people are choosing to travel to lower-cost areas to save money on medical procedures.
  • Implant selection — Some implant brands are more expensive than others, and the supplier your hospital or surgery center uses can affect the total price you pay for your surgery. The cost of your implant can also depend on the materials it’s made of, as well as whether it’s customized or off-the-shelf.

What is the cost difference between inpatient and outpatient facilities?

Inpatient and outpatient facilities charge very different prices for the same procedures. The national average cost for total knee arthroplasty at inpatient facilities is $41,620, while the same procedure at outpatient surgery centers averages $25,100

How much is total knee replacement surgery with or without insurance?

If you’re insured, you can usually expect to pay less for your procedure than an uninsured patient, especially if you stay in-network. This is because health insurance companies negotiate with facilities in their network to get surgeries at a lower cost. If you don’t have health insurance, the cost of surgery falls on you and, ultimately, costs more.

In-network vs. out-of-network cost differences

Before you schedule your surgery, check to confirm whether your surgeon is in-network or out-of-network for your insurance plan. In-network providers will almost always be cheaper than out-of-network providers. This does not apply to patients who are uninsured. Without insurance, you are responsible for the full cost of total knee replacement surgery.

How much does a total knee replacement cost out-of-pocket?

Almost everyone who has knee replacement surgery will have to pay at least part of the cost out-of-pocket. If you’re insured, your out-of-pocket cost will depend on your deductible, copay, and coinsurance amounts. If you’re uninsured, you’ll be responsible for the total cost of your surgery.

What else can affect the cost of total knee replacement surgery?

  • Prescriptions — You may need to take painkillers, blood thinners, or antibiotics after your knee replacement surgery. Medicine can be expensive. You can ensure you’re getting the best price by checking that all your prescriptions are covered by your health insurance. You can also lower the cost by asking for generic versions of your prescriptions. These will be cheaper than name brands.
  • Additional office visits — Sometimes, you may be charged a separate fee for an initial consultation with the surgeon before the surgery. You may also be charged for the follow-up visits you schedule after your procedure. (For knee replacement surgery, you’ll typically check in with your healthcare provider after two weeks, six weeks, three months, and one year.) Ask which, if any, of these follow-up visits are included in the total cost of your procedure.

Are there alternatives to getting a total knee replacement?

Knee replacement surgery is only recommended after you’ve tried nonsurgical treatment options without success. If your doctor recommends this procedure, it’s probably because they think it’s the only way to relieve your knee pain and instability. However, you can always speak to another physician to get a second opinion before committing to surgery.

Nonsurgical alternatives to total knee replacement may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Low-impact exercise
  • Joint supplements
  • Steroid injections
  • Hyaluronic acid injections
  • Weight loss (if excess weight is contributing to your knee pain)

The goal of these treatments is to reduce knee pain and inflammation and restore your range of motion. You can always ask your doctor if any alternatives to total knee replacement may work for your specific situation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and talk about your concerns before scheduling surgery.

Your total knee replacement surgery checklist

  1. Review the total cost of your knee replacement surgery with your surgeon, including prescriptions and follow-up visits. Ask them to explain the different charges you’ll be responsible for, and keep a record of their answers in writing. If you get a medical bill that’s higher than you expected, this information will come in handy.  
  2. Ask your surgeon if you can get your knee replacement in an outpatient setting.
  3. Check that all of your providers are in-network for your insurance, not just your main surgeon. Patients are often surprised by fees associated with out-of-network anesthesiologists and other specialists. 
  4. Ask what added costs you may see if the surgeon encounters complications during your procedure.

Finding a fair price for your total knee arthroplasty

The average cost for knee replacement surgery in the U.S. is $32,570, but you may be able to pay significantly less for your procedure. By scheduling your knee replacement through New Choice Health’s Orthopedic Surgery Assistance program, you can find financing options and take advantage of discounted pricing ranging from $21,000 to $29,000.

What are the different types of knee replacement surgery?

Knee replacement surgery is a common procedure with high rates of success. Your doctor may recommend it if your knee pain and mobility issues aren’t responding to medications and other nonsurgical treatments. Depending on the extent of the damage to your joint, you may either have a partial or total knee replacement (TKR). TKR is the more common of the two procedures, and there are a few different approaches your surgeon may take during the operation that may affect your recovery experience. Read on for a full breakdown of the different types of knee replacement surgery.

What’s the difference between a partial and total knee replacement?

When your knee joint is damaged by arthritis, a knee replacement may be your best option to relieve pain and restore your range of motion. Most people will need a total knee replacement (TKR). This procedure removes and replaces the damaged parts of all three bones in the joint — the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), and patella (kneecap).

A partial knee replacement, on the other hand, is performed when only one part of the knee is damaged enough to need a prosthetic replacement. The different parts of the knee that may be replaced are the:

  • Medial compartment: The inside of the knee joint, closest to the opposite knee.
  • Lateral compartment: The part of the knee that is on the outside, farthest from the opposite knee.
  • Patellar compartment: The front part of the knee between the thigh bone and the kneecap (patella).

During a partial knee replacement, a surgeon cuts away the damaged tissue and bone from part of the knee joint, preserving the rest of the knee. Then, they attach a prosthetic to that part of the joint with bone cement. Surgeons often use small incisions to perform partial knee replacements, so patients who have this procedure typically experience shorter recovery times.

When is a partial knee replacement recommended?

It is rare for knee pain and immobility to be solved by a partial knee replacement. Only about 5 to 6% of people with arthritic knees are good candidates for this procedure. Those eligible usually:

  • Only experience pain in one part of their knee
  • Are older, thin, and not very physically active
  • Still have a good range of motion in their knee
  • Do not have bad arthritis in the non-painful part of their knee

A partial knee replacement may also be recommended for younger patients (under 65) who have plenty of healthy bone left in their knee joint.

What are the different types of total knee replacement (TKR) surgery?

There are two types of total knee replacement surgery: cruciate-retaining TKR and posterior-stabilized TKR. The main difference between them is how the surgeon treats your posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). Your PCL is one of the bands of tissue that connect your thigh bone to your shin bone. (The other is the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL.) 

During a cruciate-retaining total knee replacement, the PCL is left intact to help stabilize the artificial knee. Keeping the PCL may help preserve more bone in your knee and reduce the load on the bone cement attaching the artificial knee to the joint. However, this is only an option if your PCL is strong enough to support the new joint. 

During a posterior-stabilized total knee replacement, the PCL is cut and replaced with special components added to the artificial knee. This option can give you a more predictable range and quality of motion for your artificial knee. 

Both types of knee replacement surgery have high rates of long-term success and are associated with similar improvements in knee pain and range of motion. The type of surgery you get will depend on the state of your PCL and your surgeon’s training and experience.

What are the different methods of performing a total knee replacement?

When planning your TKR, your surgeon will recommend either traditional (open) surgery or minimally invasive surgery. Over 85% of all knee replacements are performed traditionally, meaning that the surgeon operates through a single large incision. Typically, this incision will cut into the quadriceps tendon on the front of the knee.

During open knee replacement surgery, the surgeon has a clear view of the joint while they operate. This unobstructed view of the bones in your knee makes it easier for the surgeon to get correct placement and alignment for the artificial knee joint. However, traditional surgery tends to come with longer healing and recovery times than minimally invasive surgeries.

In a minimally invasive knee replacement surgery, the surgeon only makes a small cut in a quadriceps muscle instead of cutting through the tendon. This procedure is more technically challenging than open surgery, and it often requires special tools and training. Minimally invasive knee replacement surgery may not be recommended if you:

  • Are obese or overweight
  • Are very muscular
  • Have severe knee instability or deformity
  • Need a more complex knee replacement

How should you decide between the different types of knee replacement surgery?

The type surgery you get will depend on your surgeon, your medical history, and the health of your knee joint. If you’re still searching for a physician, the New Choice Health Patient Assist program can help. Our partner surgeons are dedicated to providing high-quality medical care at a fair, affordable cost. Visit our Orthopedic Surgery Assistance page to learn more about finding the best price for your knee replacement, no matter which type you need.

How long does it take to walk after total knee replacement surgery?

After trying physical therapy, medicine, and other treatments for your arthritic knee, you may be considering a total knee replacement. This surgery has helped many find relief from pain and mobility issues that make it hard to do the everyday things they love, such as walking the dog or picking up young grandchildren. 

A knee replacement can make a significant improvement in your daily life, but it may take a while for you to get back to your normal activity levels. Let’s break down what your knee replacement recovery timeline will look like in the days, weeks, and months after your surgery.

What can you expect in the days after your total knee replacement?

During total knee replacement surgery, your surgeon will cut away the damaged bone and tissue from your knee joint . Then, they will implant an artificial joint made of metal and plastic. 

After your surgery, you’ll stay in the hospital for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. During that time, your medical team will monitor your recovery. Typically, they will help you stand and walk with assistance as soon as 12 to 24 hours after your surgery. A physical therapist will show you knee-strengthening exercises that will help with your knee replacement recovery.

When you’re discharged, you will need someone to give you a ride home from the hospital or surgery center. During your first few days at home, you will probably feel more tired than normal. Your job will be to find a balance between staying active and giving your body rest when you need it. Try to avoid sitting in one place for more than an hour at a time.

Preparing your home for your knee replacement recovery

To make your at-home recovery as easy as possible, consider taking the following steps before your surgery:

  • Prepare a place to sleep on the first floor of your home.
  • Pre-order any medical equipment, such as a walker, shower chair, or crutches.
  • Make sure you’re stocked up on ice packs.
  • Ask your friends and family for help with pets, chores, and errands.
  • Place chairs in every room, so you have support when you need a break from standing.
  • Set up a sturdy chair in which you can elevate your leg, such as a recliner.
  • Think of the items you use the most — tissues, glasses, laptop, wastebasket — and make sure they’re within reach of your recovery chair. 
  • Consider installing an adjustable showerhead, shower seat, and non-slip bath mat to make bathing easier.
  • Mount grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower for support.
  • Ask your healthcare provider about any other preparations you should make before your surgery to make your knee replacement recovery easier.

How long does it take to walk after a total knee replacement?

It will take at least three to six weeks for you to return to your normal activities after your knee replacement procedure. You’ll start walking again in stages. For the first few weeks after your surgery, you’ll use a walker. Then, you may switch to crutches or a cane. You should be able to walk on your own again about four to eight weeks after your total knee replacement surgery. 

Your healthcare provider will give you guidelines on resuming different activities after your surgery, but generally, you can expect to be able to:

  • Drive again after six to eight weeks.
  • Go back to work within four to 16 weeks.
  • Resume heavy housework, such as vacuuming and changing bedsheets, after about three months.
  • Lift things 10 pounds or heavier after 12 weeks.
  • Start having sex again after six to eight weeks.

During your knee replacement recovery, it is important to keep up with any physical therapy exercises recommended by your healthcare provider. They will help you strengthen your leg as your knee heals. You should continue to use ice packs and take any prescribed anti-inflammatories or painkillers to help manage pain and swelling during your recovery.

What can you do to extend the life of your artificial knee joint?

Artificial knees, just like real ones, have their limitations. The stress of repeated use can cause a knee replacement to fail over time. When this happens, it’s either because a component of the artificial knee has worn down or the bond between the implant and the bone has weakened. Either way, a knee replacement failure usually means you’ll need another surgery to fix your knee.

To avoid knee replacement failure, you should prioritize caring for your artificial knee, even after you’ve fully recovered. You can help protect your knee implant by:

  • Staying active but avoiding high-impact activities where you could fall or damage your knee, such as skiing, contact sports, and running.
  • Avoiding twisting at your knee.
  • Wearing supportive shoes when you’re walking outdoors.
  • Avoiding kneeling on your new knee until your doctor says it’s okay.
  • Staying at a healthy weight (excess weight can put added strain on your artificial joint).
  • Checking in with your orthopedic physician regularly to monitor the state of your implant.

Because knee replacements have the potential to wear out over time, your healthcare provider will probably recommend waiting until you have exhausted all other options before considering the procedure. When you’re ready to schedule your procedure, you can start searching for a surgeon using the New Choice Health Patient Assist program. To learn more about finding an affordable, high-quality knee replacement surgeon in your area, visit our Orthopedic Surgery Assistance page.

How soon can you travel after a total knee replacement?

After any major surgery, your healthcare provider may caution you against flying for a certain amount of time to reduce your risk of blood clots. For a total knee replacement, this time is about four to six weeks. In this post, we’ll go over what you should know about traveling after your total knee replacement, from reducing your risk of blood clots to going through airport security.

Why is flying restricted after major surgery?

Flying after major surgery, especially hip or leg surgery, may increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is why doctors often recommend waiting up to six weeks after your surgery before doing any long-distance travel. DVT is a condition in which a blood clot occurs in one of the deep veins in your body, typically in one of the legs.

You may be at a higher risk for DVT if you:

  • Have experienced DVT or blood clots before
  • Have a family history of blood clots or DVT
  • Are pregnant, overweight, or obese

DVT can cause pain, redness, swelling, and tenderness in the affected part of the body. If a part of the blood clot breaks off, it may travel through the bloodstream and cause a blockage in the lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism, and it can be life-threatening if left untreated. DVT can also lead to long-term complications, such as swelling, pain, discoloration, and ulcers near the site of the clot.

Long-distance travel, whether by plane or car, prevents you from moving around after your surgery. Anytime you sit in one position for hours at a time, you may experience an increased risk of blood clots, including DVT.

How can you lower your risk of DVT during long-distance travel?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following tips to help prevent DVT:

  • Start moving around as soon as possible after your surgery
  • Talk to your healthcare about compression stockings and anticoagulants (blood thinners)
  • Get up and walk around every 1 to 2 hours during long-distance travel (anything over four hours) 
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes
  • Maintain or get to a healthy weight
  • While sitting, find ways to exercise your legs, such as:
    • Tightening and releasing your leg muscles
    • Lifting and lowering your toes, keeping your heels on the floor
    • Lifting and lowering your heels, keeping your toes on the floor
  • Ask your doctor for any other recommendations to help reduce your risk of DVT

What should you consider when traveling after your total knee replacement?

Many people travel to different cities or states to find the best price for their knee replacement surgery. However, this option can get complicated when you cannot fly in the first days or weeks after your procedure. Your surgeon may recommend avoiding long-distance travel for a month or more after your total knee replacement. Make sure to account for that when planning for your surgery.

Note: If you’re traveling for your knee replacement surgery, check that you have all the necessary documentation, such as x-rays, bloodwork, negative nicotine tests, and surgical clearance, before leaving your home. This way, you can avoid extending your out-of-town stay due to missing paperwork. 

Major orthopedic surgeries, such as knee and hip replacements, have a higher risk of blood clotting than other orthopedic surgeries. When a bone is cut, your body responds by ramping up its blood clotting system, just as it does when you’re injured. A knee replacement involves cutting into two of the biggest bones in your body. So, your body’s clotting response will be especially strong after the surgery.

When is long-distance travel safe after a total knee replacement?

Generally, the most significant clotting risk goes away around four to six weeks after your surgery. Your doctor may recommend not flying or going on long car rides until after this time. Let them know if you plan on doing any long-distance travel in the first couple of months after your surgery. This may influence the type of blood thinners they prescribe.

Even after you’re past the six-week mark, you should still talk to your healthcare provider before flying for the first time after your total knee replacement. They will help you assess your risk of blood clots and recommend any preventative measures you should take during your trip.

What should you know about going through airport security with your knee replacement?

The metal in your knee replacement may set off airport security alarms. To make your trip through airport security go more smoothly, inform the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer about your implant before you go through the metal detector. 

Your surgeon may give you a certificate that can act as proof of your artificial joint when you travel. You can bring this joint replacement card with you when you fly to help explain why the metal detector may go off. However, you will not be asked for proof of your implant most of the time.

Preparing to travel for your knee replacement surgery

Depending on where you live, traveling for your knee replacement may be a great way to save money on the procedure. If you’re considering this option, your surgeon will give you guidelines for travel before and after surgery to help reduce your risk of complications. 

When scheduling your surgery, make sure to ask about how long you’ll need to stay in one location before you can travel long distances again. Each person is unique, and your post-surgery flying restrictions will depend on your specific situation.

Our Care Coordinators can help you explore your different surgery options and weigh the distance you may travel with the potential to save money on your procedure. However, no matter where you have your total knee replacement surgery, you can be assured that your surgeon meets our strict standards for education, experience, and certification. 

Click here to learn more about booking your knee replacement surgery through New Choice Health’s Orthopedic Surgery Assistance program.

What is total knee replacement surgery?

Total knee replacement surgery, also called total knee arthroplasty, is one of the most commonly performed orthopedic surgeries. During this procedure, a surgeon replaces the damaged part of the knee joint with an artificial joint made of medical-grade plastic and metal. After the surgery, most patients experience pain relief and increased mobility.

Your healthcare provider may recommend knee replacement surgery if you have knee pain or immobility that keeps you from performing everyday tasks, such as climbing stairs, walking, or getting in and out of chairs. Knee replacement surgery shouldn’t be your first line of treatment, but it may be necessary if other treatment options have failed.

When is total knee replacement surgery recommended?

Before you get knee replacement surgery, your physician will make sure you meet the following two criteria:

  1. You have pain and mobility issues in your knee that make it hard for you to perform everyday tasks, and
  2. You have tried non-surgical treatment options, such as medication or wearing a brace, and they haven’t helped.

Arthritis is the top reason that people need knee replacement surgery. In a healthy knee, the bones, cartilage, and menisci work together to create smooth, frictionless motion. In an arthritic knee, deterioration of the bones or cartilage can make movement painful or difficult.

The two main types of arthritis that may lead to a total knee replacement are:

Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis. If you have osteoarthritis, the cartilage that cushions the bones in your knee joint may have started to wear away. When the cartilage deteriorates enough, the bones in your knee will begin to rub together when you move. This can cause pain, inflammation, and a loss of mobility.

Rheumatoid arthritis: If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your body’s immune system can start to attack the synovial membrane that surrounds and protects the bones in your joints. This may cause inflammation and lead to pain, restricted movement, and a loss of cartilage.

What happens during a total knee arthroplasty?

Your knee is made up of the lower end of your femur (thigh bone), the upper end of your tibia (shin bone), and the patella (kneecap). During knee replacement surgery, the surgeon operates on these bones through an incision on the front of your knee. You’ll be given general or regional anesthesia so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure.

First, they move the kneecap to the side so they can get a clear view of the other bones in your knee joint. Next, they cut away the damaged or diseased parts of the femur and tibia, shaping the bone to fit into the pieces of the artificial knee. Your surgeon may also cut away the damaged part of the patella during this part of the surgery. Then, they attach the artificial knee.

Your replacement knee will likely have three components: 

  • A metal part that attaches to your femur,
  • A plastic-and-metal part that attaches to your tibia, and
  • A small plastic component that goes on your patella.

Your surgeon will perform measurements and range-of-motion tests during and after the surgery to ensure that the knee replacement is balanced and functioning properly. The surgery typically takes about two hours

How long will you stay in the hospital after a total knee replacement?

Total knee arthroplasty is often performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you’ll be able to go home the same day as your surgery. However, some people may need to stay in the hospital for a few days after getting a total knee replacement. Your healthcare provider should be able to tell you ahead of time when you’ll get to go home after your procedure.

Immediately after your surgery, you’ll be taken to a recovery room for about one to two hours while your anesthesia wears off. During that time, your medical team will monitor you for any signs of complications.

Before you leave the hospital or surgery center, your physician will give you instructions for your recovery. To help prevent swelling and blood clots after your knee replacement, your physician may advise you to:

  • Move your foot and ankle often to increase blood flow to your leg,
  • Wear compression stockings, and
  • Take any blood thinners they prescribe.

What can you expect from your new knee after surgery?

Most people are able to stand and walk on the same day or the day after their knee replacement surgery. During your recovery, you’ll go to physical therapy to learn how to move around with your new knee. Your physical therapist will also teach you exercises to help strengthen your knee as you heal.

Throughout your recovery, you will have regular check-ins with your physician to check that your artificial joint is working as it should.

It can take up to three or four months to fully heal from your total knee arthroplasty. By that time, you should be able to fully straighten and bend your knee without pain and resume normal activities

After your knee replacement heals, you should be able to do low-impact exercise, including hiking, swimming, tennis, and golfing. However, even after you’re fully healed, you should avoid activities that could damage your new knee, such as downhill skiing, running, football, and soccer.

With proper care, your artificial knee joint may last 15 to 20 years or more. However, if your knee replacement loosens or wears out, it may need to be replaced again. 

Deciding to get total knee replacement surgery

Your healthcare provider will help you decide whether knee replacement surgery is the best treatment for your knee pain and mobility issues. Before recommending the procedure, they’ll go over your medical history, perform a physical examination of your leg, and use x-rays or other tests to assess the level of damage in your knee joint.

If your provider has determined that you’re a good candidate for knee replacement, you can use the New Choice Health Orthopedic Surgery Assistance program to find a fair, affordable price for your surgery. Click here to learn more about how cash pay discounts and financing options can lower your out-of-pocket costs.

How much should your spinal surgery cost?

How much should your spinal surgery cost?

Spinal surgery is an option for people struggling with back pain, spinal instability, or spinal deformities. It’s typically recommended when non-surgical treatments have failed to relieve back pain caused by a pinched nerve, compression in the spinal cord, or excess movement between vertebrae. 

There are many different types of spinal surgery, and the right one for you will depend on your specific situation. Generally, most types of spinal surgery can fit into the following three categories:

  • Spinal decompression surgeries, such as diskectomy, laminectomy, and foraminotomy, are intended to treat symptoms caused by the narrowing of spaces between the vertebrae and spinal cord. During these surgeries, part or all of one or more vertebrae are cut away to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves that branch out of it.
  • Spinal fusion surgery is a procedure that permanently connects two or more vertebrae in your spine. During this procedure, a surgeon places a bone graft between the vertebrae so they heal together into a single bone. The surgeon may also use metal plates, rods, or screws to help secure the vertebrae together. Spinal fusion is used to treat spinal instability and pain caused by vertebrae rubbing together.
  • Vertebral augmentation surgery, such as vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, is a method of treating compression fractures in the vertebrae. These fractures are often caused by osteoporosis, and they can lead to back pain and mobility issues. During vertebral augmentation surgery, a surgeon uses a special cement to repair the fracture in the bone.

How much does spinal surgery cost?

The average cost for spinal decompression surgery in the United States is $23,500. No matter which type of spinal surgery you get, actual prices can vary greatly depending on your specific procedure. 

One of the main factors that will influence the cost of your spinal surgery is whether you have it performed at an inpatient facility, such as a hospital, or an outpatient surgery center. In the past, getting your spinal surgery at the hospital was your only option. Now, many types of spinal surgeries are performed in outpatient surgery centers with similar success and safety rates as those performed in hospitals. 

Outpatient centers are just as safe as hospitals but could save you thousands on your medical bill. 

Based on our data, the target fair price for most types of spinal surgery is $14,250, whether you have health insurance or not.

National Average

  • Spinal decompression surgery: $17,400
  • Spinal fusion surgery: $29,720
  • Vertebral augmentation surgery: $36,880

National Range

  • Spinal decompression surgery: $8800 – $19,600+
  • Spinal fusion surgery: $17,250 – $45,500+
  • Vertebral augmentation surgery: $23,500 – $67,900+

Outpatient Facility Average:

  • Spinal decompression surgery: $13,500
  • Spinal fusion surgery: $21,690
  • Vertebral augmentation surgery: $24,280

Inpatient Facility Average:

  • Spinal decompression surgery: $19,440
  • Spinal fusion surgery: $37,820
  • Vertebral augmentation surgery: $47,190

Target Fair Price:

  • Spinal decompression surgery: $10,750
  • Spinal fusion surgery: $19,275
  • Vertebral augmentation surgery: $25,800

Below, you’ll learn what can affect the cost of your spinal surgery, as well as how to find a fair price for your procedure.

Specific Spinal Surgery Procedures and National Cost Averages

Procedure Price Range
Disc Replacement Surgery Cost Average $16,700 – $45,800
Diskectomy Cost Average $12,700 – $34,800
Kyphoplasty Cost Average $11,300 – $31,000
Spinal Cord Stimulator Cost Average $5,800 – $76,300
Spinal Fusion Cost Average
$15,700 – $94,300
Spinal Instrumentation Cost Average $12,500 – $34,400
Vertebroplasty Cost Average $4,600 – $12,400

Which factors affect how much spinal surgery costs?

Regardless of which type of spinal surgery you’re getting, there are many things that can affect the price you ultimately pay for your procedure. The three factors main factors that may impact the price of your surgery are:

  • Facility setting — Where you have your spinal surgery done affects the cost. Inpatient facilities, like hospitals, tend to cost more to run than outpatient surgery centers. That means that you’ll typically end up paying more for an inpatient procedure than an outpatient procedure.
  • Health insurance — If you have health insurance, the cost of spinal surgery can depend on your specific insurance provider. How much you pay will depend on what percentage of the procedure your insurance plan covers, if any at all. It will also depend on how close you are to hitting your deductible. If you don’t have health insurance, you’ll be responsible for paying the full cost of your surgery out-of-pocket. 
  • Location — The region, state, and even city you live in can affect the cost of your spinal surgery. If you live in a rural area with fewer healthcare facilities to choose from, you can expect to pay more than you would if you lived in a city with many providers. Traveling for a medical procedure can be a great money-saving option.

Insured vs. uninsured cost differences

Insured patients can typically expect to pay less than uninsured patients for spinal surgery, especially when they choose a provider and facility that’s in their health insurance network. 

In-network vs. out-of-network cost differences

In-network costs only relate to patients who have health insurance. Providers that are in your insurance network will almost always be cheaper than out-of-network providers. 

Payment responsibility

Nearly everyone who has any type of spinal surgery will have to pay some of the cost out-of-pocket. Uninsured patients will be responsible for the total cost of their surgery. 

Patients with health insurance will be responsible for paying their deductible, copay, and coinsurance amounts. The amount of each of these costs depends on your health plan.

To avoid unexpected charges, talk to your insurance provider about your payment responsibility before scheduling your surgery.

More factors that affect the cost of spinal surgery

  • Prescriptions — A physician may prescribe painkillers or antibiotics after your surgery. To avoid high prescription prices, make sure your health insurance policy covers the medications you receive. You can also ask if there is a generic version of the same medicine, which can help lower the cost. 
  • Additional office visits — In some cases, you may be charged a separate fee for an initial consultation with the surgeon before the surgery. Your doctor may also want to see you for follow-up appointments throughout the first year after your surgery. Ask about the cost of these different visits and whether they’re included in the total cost of your procedure.

Are there alternatives to spinal surgery?

If your doctor tells you that you need spinal surgery, it’s usually because you’ve tried other options to relieve your pain or discomfort without success. Depending on your specific condition, you may try these options before opting for spinal surgery:

  • Physical therapy
  • Over-the-counter pain medications
  • Steroid injections
  • Spinal manipulation using chiropractic or massage

If non-surgical options don’t work to alleviate your symptoms, your doctor may start to talk to you about spinal surgery. The type of surgery you get will depend on your personal health and your doctor’s recommendations. 

Feel free to ask your doctor why they’re recommending any procedure. If you’re unsure about their recommendations, you always have the right to a second opinion. Don’t be afraid to use it!

Your spinal surgery checklist

  1. Review the total cost of your procedure with your surgeon. Ask them to explain what each cost is for and keep a record. If you get a medical bill that’s higher than you expected, this information will come in handy.  
  2. Ask your surgeon if they can perform the procedure in an outpatient setting. 
  3. Check that all providers are in-network. Sometimes a provider who treats you will be out-of-network (this often happens with anesthesiologists). You can avoid this by asking your surgeon whether all of the providers who will treat you are in-network for your insurance. 
  4. Ask what the typical cost is if the surgeon finds other areas that need to be repaired during your procedure. You can also ask how likely this is to happen.

Finding a fair price for your spinal surgery

While the national average for spinal surgery is $23,500, figuring out how much you should pay can be confusing. New Choice Health thinks it shouldn’t be. Our cost comparison tool can help you easily compare spinal surgery costs at facilities near you to find a fair price for your procedure. 

Then, when you’re ready to schedule your procedure, New Choice Health’s Spine Surgery Assist program can help you find financing and cash pay discounts to decrease the overall cost you pay.

What is spinal fusion surgery?

Spinal fusion is a type of spinal surgery used to correct problems with the small bones in your spine, called the vertebrae. This procedure addresses back pain or spinal instability by permanently fusing together two or more vertebrae. When the fused vertebrae heal, they form one solid bone. By decreasing the mobility between specific vertebrae, you may reduce the effects of spinal problems that make back movement painful. 

Spinal fusion is just one of the surgical options available for people dealing with chronic back pain. Read on for a breakdown of this procedure, including when it’s recommended, what happens during the surgery, and what you can expect during your recovery.

When is spinal fusion surgery recommended?

Spinal fusion surgery is performed to help improve spinal weakness, back pain, or deformities of the spine. By eliminating movement in a specific part of the spine, this surgery may help relieve symptoms of many spinal health conditions. Spinal fusion can be an option for people with:

  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal instability
  • Arthritis in the spine, such as spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Herniated disks
  • Degenerative disk disease
  • Fractured or injured vertebra
  • Infections or tumors causing spinal weakness or instability

Before your doctor recommends any type of spinal surgery, they’ll need to pinpoint the source of your back problems. They will do this using a diagnostic imaging test, such as an x-ray, computerized tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. If your physician determines that stabilizing two or more vertebrae may improve your symptoms, they may recommend spinal fusion surgery.

What happens during spinal fusion surgery?

There are a few different techniques that surgeons may use to perform a spinal fusion. The details of your surgery will depend on the reason you’re getting the procedure, the location of the vertebrae to be fused, and your overall health. 

No matter how your surgeon approaches the procedure, you will be under anesthesia. This means that you’ll be unconscious and won’t feel any pain during the surgery. Generally, spinal fusion surgery consists of three different steps, and it can take around three to four hours. 

  • First, the surgeon will make one or more incisions in your back, abdomen, or neck. The location of the incisions, as well as their size and number, will depend on your specific situation. This surgery may either be performed laparoscopically — through a series of small incisions — or through one larger incision. 
  • Next, your surgeon will prepare a bone graft to put between the vertebrae that need to be fused. This bone graft may come from another part of your body, such as your pelvis. It may also come from a bone bank (this is called an allograft). They may also use a synthetic bone graft. If bone is taken from your pelvis, it will be taken at the beginning of this procedure.
  • Finally, your surgeon will use the bone graft to fuse two or more vertebrae together permanently. To do this, they’ll place the bone graft between the vertebrae that they want to connect. They may also use metal screws, rods, or plates to stabilize the vertebrae and hold them in place as the bone heals and the vertebrae naturally fuse together.

Note: Sometimes, spinal fusion surgery is performed at the same time as another spinal surgery, such as a foraminotomy or laminectomy. This is usually done to help stabilize the spine after removing a portion of one or more vertebrae. In this case, the spinal fusion will be performed after the first procedure is finished. Your surgeon may use the bone removed from the vertebra as the bone graft in your spinal fusion.

How long does it take to recover from spinal fusion?

Spinal fusion surgeries can be performed as both inpatient and outpatient procedures. The type you get will depend on your doctor’s recommendation, the specific details of your surgery, and your preferences. If you have inpatient surgery, you’ll probably stay at the hospital for three to four days after your procedure. During this time, your medical team will monitor your recovery. If you have outpatient surgery, you’ll go home on the same day as your procedure.

During your recovery, you will go through different stages. Throughout each part of your recovery, it’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations. They will give you guidelines on how much physical activity you can handle, as well as how to move your back to keep from disturbing the spinal fusion. Your doctor will likely recommend walking every day to help boost blood flow, speed up wound healing, and decrease muscle soreness after surgery.

About four weeks after your spinal fusion, you should be able to go back to doing simple activities, such as driving or light housework. If your job doesn’t require physical labor, you’ll probably be able to return to work in one to two months. If your job requires physical labor, you may have to wait three to six months or longer to go back.

During your recovery, you should focus on keeping your spinal fusion in place so that your vertebrae can fuse with the bone graft and stabilize. Depending on your age and overall health, it may take up to six months or a year for the fusion to heal completely.

Will your mobility be affected by spinal fusion surgery?

If you’re considering spinal fusion surgery, it’s probably because you’ve already tried other options to manage your symptoms without success. Though the surgery may be necessary, it’s still normal to wonder what your mobility and activity level will look like after your spinal fusion has healed.

Depending on which vertebrae are fused together, the fusion may take away some of your mobility. However, most spinal fusion surgeries only target small portions of the spine. They shouldn’t have too significant of an effect on your ability to bend over, twist, or perform other activities. Before your procedure, you can talk with your doctor about how the fusion may affect your flexibility and the range of motion in your spine. 

As you’re searching for the right surgeon to perform your spinal fusion, you should know that your choice may affect the price you pay for your surgery. The healthcare facility, surgeon, and even city in which you have your procedure can all impact how much you ultimately pay for your spinal fusion. 

Searching online for a fair price for your spinal fusion surgery can get complicated, but there’s an easier way. New Choice Health’s Patient Assist program can help you take advantage of financing and cash pay discounts to lower the cost of your spinal fusion without decreasing the quality of your care. Use New Choice Health’s Spine Surgery Assist program to find a fair cost for your spinal fusion surgery today.