Cost of routine spine surgery procedures is not very different than other orthopedic procedures. However, spine surgery can become costly. There are multiple factors which make spine surgery slightly costlier than other procedures. Before we discuss about cost of spine surgery, it is important to understand how cost of any surgical procedure is decided.
- Type of hospital room: Patients often feel that if they opt for a single occupancy or higher room, it should only affect room rent part of their hospital bill. Most of the hospitals have operation theater (OT) charges, investigations charges, doctors fee etc. linked to type of room patient is staying in. Price of these things will be higher in a single/ deluxe room and lower in a general ward (accommodation with multiple beds in same room). So, if a patient opts for higher class of room, overall bill goes up.
- Type of surgery: OT charges can either be fixed for a particular type of procedure (irrespective of the time taken to complete the procedure) or there can be hourly OT charge (more the time required to complete the procedure, higher the OT charges). Most of the hospitals have OT charges linked to type of surgery being done. Spine surgery is one of the most complex surgery and hence OT charges for spine surgery are always in the upper range. Spine surgeries usually take longer than most of the other surgeries. A per hour OT charge multiplied by number of hours is always on the higher side for spinal surgeries. An instrumentation surgery is one grade up than a simple decompression surgery.
- Length of surgery: A complex or multilevel spine surgery will take longer. Instrumentation and fusion of spine will add to the time spent in OT. A longer time spent in OT will not only increase OT charges, but requirement of anesthesia and other medicines will also increase. Longer surgeries are associated with more blood loss necessitating blood transfusion. All these factors will make OT charges of longer surgery costlier than a shorter surgery.
- Implants: Spine implants are costly. Most of them are made up of titanium or medical grade plastic. Imported implants are costlier than local made implants. Multilevel fusion will require more implant causing increase in surgery cost.
- Stay in hospital: Whichever type of room/ bed patient chooses, longer the stay, more the cost. A longer stay will attracts not only more days of room rent, but also doctor visit charges and medicines used during additional stay.
- Type of hospital: A smaller hospital will be comparatively cheaper compared to a bigger hospital for the same surgery. However, smaller hospitals may not have advanced surgical equipment (microscope, endoscope, computer navigation etc.).
Essentially, spine surgeries are usually slightly costlier as they fall into highest category of surgeries with higher OT charges. Patients can keep the cost low by choosing a lower class room and use of Indian implants (if required). A smaller hospital can be selected if it has required facilities for spine surgery required. A minimally invasive spine surgery can actually proves to be cheaper as it allows early discharge with less medicine requirement.