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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Photo by Spring Dew
 

15 comments
Eyesonthedollar
Eyesonthedollar

When I had my daughter, I didn't have maternity coverage. We prepaid $5000 for a normal delivery and 24 hour hospital stay. One emergency c-section, emergency surgery for me the day after, CT scan, night in ICU, 2 pints of blood, and  week in the hospital later, $25,000 bill. Luckily my insurance did pay most of it after we proved it was an emergency and all the above wasn't "routine maternity care." I never want any kind of surgery again, but 3 year of sinus trouble might change my mind. Good luck.

seedebtrun
seedebtrun

I don't get sick often, so I'm a giant baby when it happens!  I'm so happy for you to be able to breathe and not be sick so frequently!  I hope your recovery is quick and painless!

-M

Veronica @ Pelican on Money
Veronica @ Pelican on Money

Sorry to hear you have to go through a surgery to correct this problem! I hope everything goes smooth for you and no more suffering.

DebtnTaxes
DebtnTaxes

Man the first thing I thought of when I saw it was surgery on the nose was a guy holding a chisel on your nose with a hammer in the other hand.  I've watched a couple nose surgeries and they look really painful.  Hopefully yours goes alright and it fixes the problem.  Good luck.

AverageJoeMoney
AverageJoeMoney

I feel so lucky I haven't had any surgeries. I see these huge numbers and think, "Man, maybe I should wear a helmet all day...."

Holly at ClubThrifty
Holly at ClubThrifty

Over the past year and a half, I had $17,000 worth of dental surgery after being rear ended in a car wreck.  Luckily the person that hit me had insurance!

SenseofCents
SenseofCents

Wow that's expensive! I have two friends that are getting that surgery also, and they're waiting until they have more PTO accrued.

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

 @VeronicaHill79 Thanks!  I am actually excited about the surgery.  I have had sinus infections for WELL over 50% of the time the last 3 years.  It's time to get it fixed!

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

 @DebtnTaxes lol a chisel and a hammer oh my.  What kind of nose surgeries?  The two operations I'm having actually leave no physical signs that you even had surgery.  I appreciate the well-wishes.

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

 @AverageJoeMoney Haha unfortunately a helmet wouldn't help you whatsoever in this case ;)

 

I also am pretty happy with the price.  The benefits I will gain from this surgery should be well worth the cost.

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

 @SenseofCents I actually think it is fairly reasonably priced considering the expertise, training, insurance risk, etc. that goes into this operation.

 

I have been saving pto for most of the year for this.  Taking off four days that week (Tue-Fri) then keeping my planned (Mon - Wed) PTO the week after.  

Holly at ClubThrifty
Holly at ClubThrifty

 @VeronicaHill79

 Well, I got two teeth knocked out so I had to get dental implants drilled for those two.  I also got matching porcelain veneers for all of my front teeth to match.  The good news is that I got awesome looking perfect teeth out of it.  But yes, it was very very painful!