Thumb Arthritis Surgery Cost
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Thumb Arthritis Surgery Cost

Arthritis in the thumb is very painful and causes many problems like holding a cup, unlocking a door or opening jars. When it is very severe surgery is the only option and knowing the cost is important.

Arthritis is a problem that causes inflammation and cartilage loss within the joints. When it occurs in the thumb it is usually at the joint at the base of the thumb where it joins the wrist.

This joint is called the carpometacarpal joint and is a very important joint when it comes to gripping or pinching something.

The symptoms are

  • Pain at the base of the thumb
  • Swelling at the base of the thumb
  • Grinding sensation when moving the thumb
  • Painful and limited motion of the thumb
  • Difficulty in gripping 
  • Pain when opening jars, turning keys etc.

If anti-inflammatory medications do not work, then cortisone injections provide quick relief but they are not a cure, and the symptoms will return.

Surgery is the only option for patients suffering from severe thumb arthritis. This involves removing the arthritic bone, relieving the pain and inflammation of the worn-out joint.

There are different methods of doing this and the surgeon may use one of the following

  • Replace the removed bone with a tendon graft
  • Use an artificial implant
  • Replace it with nothing at all
  • Fuse the joint to eliminate all motion at the base of the thumb.

Surgical treatment of arthritis of the thumb is very successful and sufferers rarely get any more pain or discomfort. But what does this type of surgery cost?

It depends on where you have the operation done and whether you have medical insurance. If medical insurance is in place the insurance company can often negotiate with the hospital and get the price down.

The best way to find out is to ring the hospital office and get a quote before you arrange surgery, but your doctor should be able to help you with this.

Arthritic bone surgery of the thumb can be done in a day so there is no need to stay in hospital overnight unless there is a medical reason why they may wish to keep you in. That is rare and usually only applies to elderly patients who may live alone.

As a guideline for an operation to replace the thumb joint you should budget for around the following figures.

  • Anesthia $400
  • Hospital fees $8,000
  • Surgeon's fees $2,000

If you anticipate $1500 for the whole operation you should be able to find a hospital that will carry out the procedure for that cost, or less.

Costs rise in the health service every year so it is wise to take out medical insurance or start a "health fund" when you are young so you can meet any medical costs when you are older.

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