The Cost of Sinus Surgery

by on Aug 23 2012 - 16 Comments

In less than three weeks I will be having a septoplasty and endoscopic sinus surgery. I have essentially had a chronic sinus infection for the past eight-plus months, though I’ve had problems off and on for three years.

Long story short: I’m having surgery to correct the problem.

A septoplasty is done to straighten a deviated nasal septum. Apparently more than 80% of people have deviated septums, but for most it doesn’t cause any major issues. For the unlucky few (including me) the deviated septum’s piercing of the nasal cavity causes irritation and can lead to chronic sinus infections.

I have talked to a few people who had a septoplasty in the past and all have said it was a great decision. None have had sinus infections since, and they all have been able to breathe better than ever before.

The real question: What are the costs?

The total cost before insurance is between $3,000 – $4,000.

I was actually pretty happy to hear this figure. The reason I was happy was not because it would make a difference to me whether it was $3,000 or $15,000, but because this is a before-insurance estimate.

As I wrote in the past, I’m a big supporter of Health Savings Accounts. If someone ever experienced an extended time of unemployment, they could tap into these savings for medical costs without touching the rest of their bank account. If this surgery costs $3,500, it would not necessarily be unaffordable without insurance.

I know that $3,500 is no small amount, but when it comes to health there really is no way to put a dollar value on it. I feel as though most people (myself included) take their health for granted. While medical bills can be a strain on people’s budgets, we should be happy that there is quality health care available to “fix” most of our health problems.

We could dive into whether or not the U.S. health care system is set up in the most efficient way, but that’s for another post…or hundred ;)

While I covered the financial cost above, there is another cost that should be factored in:

Opportunity Cost

One such cost is the cost of not working. Thankfully I have paid time off, so I don’t have to worry about this cost. For others, taking off 3-5 days (minimum) for recovery could make the surgery a lot more expensive than $3,500. Missing a week of work could easily cost someone $500+.

If you are lucky enough to have paid time off, there is an additional opportunity cost: not being able to use your paid time off for a vacation or to…you know…not lay on the couch recovering? But then again, maybe you are like Lance at Money Life & More you don’t take your PTO days anyway.

Overall, I would say being able to breathe better and not having a chronic sinus infection far outweighs the financial (and opportunity) costs.

Have you had surgery in the past few years? How much did it cost?
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