Let's Talk About the Cost of Gall Bladder Surgery

Before a big procedure like gallbladder surgery, patients will likely have many questions about what to expect during the surgery and what the recovery period looks like. But, patients don’t always ask about the cost ahead of time.

Sometimes blockages and hard fragments – called gallstones – can form in the gallbladder and cause intense pain. While the gallbladder is an important part of your digestive system, it is not an essential one. If your doctor has recommended removing your gallbladder as part of your treatment for gallstones or other conditions, you’ll want to ask what to expect from the surgery and after you have recovered. You’ll also want to know what costs to expect and reduce the chance of a surprise bill.

On the Wear The Cost website, the gall bladder surgery “episode of care” includes the total cost of all covered services related to the surgery, whether the service takes place in a hospital or in an outpatient facility. This total cost includes consultation prior to surgery, tests, and the surgery itself, and nursing care following the surgery. It also includes costs that may occur after being discharged from the hospital/outpatient facility, including follow-up doctor appointment and post-acute care services.

By including the related services before, during, and after the surgery, Wear The Cost captures the total cost of care of gall bladder surgery. The costs are based on health insurance claims data, which reflects what health insurers actually paid providers for their services and the patients’ out-of-pocket costs.

In Maryland, the cost of gall bladder surgery can range from about $12,200 to over $24,500, depending on the hospital where the procedure takes place. These costs include things you expect, like radiology and lab tests before and after surgery. They also include treatments for complications that you hope not to experience and could potentially be avoided. Common potentially avoidable complications for gall bladder surgery include excessive bleeding, wound infections, urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers or bed sores, deep vein thrombosis, or fluid and electrolyte problems. Some hospitals have more costs associated with potentially avoidable complications than others.

Knowing both the costs associated with the procedure and the rate of potentially avoidable complications can help patients as they consider where to get their surgery – something everyone should think about.

To learn more about what gall bladder surgeries cost in Maryland and which hospitals may offer a better value, check out https://www.wearthecost.org/gall_bladder_surgery.html. Or create your own custom report to compare hospitals: https://www.wearthecost.org/report_step1.html.