Knee Replacement: The Real Costs

knee replacement: the true costsThe knee is one of the most complex joints in the human body and definitely the most stressed. When you have a damaged knee people commonly experience frequent and reoccurring pain, which limits the knee’s range of motion. When you are suffering from knee pain the everyday tasks you would typically take for granted become difficult. Walking down the sidewalk or going up the stars can become strenuous.

Unfortunately when most people talk to their doctor, the doctor will recommend total knee replacement surgery. In 2010 alone almost 700,000 people had total knee replacement surgery. Conditions in the knee such as severe bone spurring or not having any cartilage in the knee definitely calls for a knee replacement. However, some conditions can be treated with medical practices such as Stem Cell Therapy.

If you are one of the patients that qualify for Stem Cell Therapy, meaning your knees aren’t in the worst condition, as mentioned above, you should get a second opinion. Let’s take a look at the actual cost of a total knee replacement.

Financial Costs: Knee Replacement Surgery

Without Insurance

If you are a patient without health insurance the cost of getting your knee replaced is typically in the ball park of around $35,000 or more. There are some places that offer “discounts” to patients without insurance. However, the financial obligation out of pocket would still be around $25,000 to $33,000. For most people that is an extremely large amount of money and this price will only include:

  • Hospital stay
  • Surgical fees
  • Hospital physical therapy
  • Anesthesia
  • Brace and Crutches
  • Recovery Room Charge
  • Operating room charge
  • Nurses and Technicians
  • Artificial Knee
  • Radiologist

With Insurance

The patients that have insurance still have a hefty up-front cost as well. The patients with insurance can still have to pay several thousand dollars depending on the co-pay or co-insurance and the deductible. For example a Medicare patient from New Hampshire, for example, can expect to pay around $4,200 out of pocket. This total cost will include the deductible and coinsurance. Let’s say you are a patient with a $1,500 impatient surgical deductible and you have 20% coinsurance with an out of pocket max of $3,500. You would pay $3,500.


Cost of Rehabilitation

Immediately after your knee replacement you will be required to stay in the hospital for three to five days. During the time immediately following surgery you may be able to walk, but you’ll have to use a walking device, such as parallel walking bars or crutches. After you are sent home from the hospital you will either be sent home or directly to a rehabilitation facility. If you are sent directly to a rehab facility you will be there for seven to ten days, on average. If you are lucky enough to be sent home right after surgery you will have to have a physical therapist come assist you at your home. The outpatient therapy may last up to two months. Every person reacts to total knee replacement differently so the course of rehabilitation will depend on each person.

Financial Costs: Physical Therapist

The financial cost of the total knee replacement physical therapy isn’t cheap, but it’s way more inexpensive than the surgery and hospital costs. For a patient with insurance to undergo physical therapy can be around $2,600. However, if you don’t have insurance and you are paying out of pocket it can cost you from $50 – $200 per session!

Financial Costs: Your Time in Rehabilitation

As we mentioned before, physical therapy and rehabilitation can take up to two months from the time you leave the hospital. There’s a decent amount of people that may be retired or are lucky enough to have assisted living while going through surgery and rehab. However, there are a lot of people who aren’t so lucky. Most people can’t just take 8 weeks off of work. If you are going through surgery it’s possible that you’re still in your late 40s. Most people in their late 40s aren’t retired. Will your work allow you to take eight weeks off? Most likely you will get the time off work but it will probably be unpaid. Are you financially stable enough to take the time off of work without pay? Not to mention the cost that are associated with the surgery itself. The median wage in the US is $26,000 so if you have to take eight weeks off of work without pay you can add another $4000 on average to the total cost of the surgery (if you’re the average American).


So far the total cost financially of a knee replacement is somewhere in the $40,000 area if you’re paying out of pocket. From the time you step foot in the hospital to the time you are back on your feet, so-to-speak, you’re looking at almost a year and a half worth of wages. If you do have insurance you’re still going to be looking at an investment of almost $10,000 with the time you’re taking off of work.


Besides the financial costs what’s the cost of being in pain and discomfort for weeks? What price do you put on having to stay home and have family and friends watching over you for two months? Not to mention the fact that you may have to get knee surgery again in less than10 years.

Get a Second Opinion

If you are in pain and you are NOT 100% certain that you need a total knee replacement please get a second opinion. An outpatient such as Stem Cell Therapy can make painful knees feel great again and keep your hard earned money in your pocket. If you are looking for an alternative to surgery call the Stem Cell Professionals today.