An ankle fracture occurs when one of the bones that make up the joint breaks. The surgery is necessary to repair broken bones with plates and screws and to repair broken ligaments with anchors or sutures.
How Much Does Ankle Surgery Cost?
The cost of ankle surgery depends on some factors such as the type of treatment you need, your geographical location, the doctor you choose, the severity of your injury, and your insurance company. In case you don’t have health insurance, you should be prepared to spend anywhere between $550 and $1,300 only for the doctor’s visit and the ankle x-rays.
For instance, the cost of an ankle x-ray at a specialized radiology center starts at $220 and can go up to more than $1,100. The costs would be anywhere between $1,600 and $2,700 if a cast will also be required. This is recommended for patients who have experienced moderate ankle sprains. In the case of a simple sprain, just a simple wrap will be necessary, and this would not cost more than $120.
These price estimates should include the costs of the facility fee, anesthesia, bone setting, any prescription drugs needed during the treatment, casts, MRIs, and CTs. However, depending on the hospital’s billing policy, these costs may be billed separately.
For example, you may have to pay around $1,550 if you are going to a local emergency room with a sprained ankle. On the other hand, at a podiatry clinic, the costs would be much lower, anywhere between $430 and $550.
Depending on the place where you are living, the hospital, and the doctor you choose, you will have to pay between $6,200 and more than $26,000 for a broken ankle surgery without insurance. The costs of this procedure will be covered by health insurance only if this is deemed medically necessary.
In general, ankle surgeries are covered by health insurance and this depends on the coverage level of the insurance company. For example, there are insurance companies that may require you to try physical therapy before considering surgery. The majority of the doctors will recommend surgery when other conservative treatments are not working with your ankle condition.
In the table below you will find the average costs of different types of ankle surgeries.
|The Type of Ankle Surgery||Average Cost Without Insurance|
|ORIF Ankle Fracture||$4,200 to $13,000|
|Brostrum Ligament Reconstruction||$5,500 to $13,000|
|Ankle Fusion Surgery||$4,500 to $10,000|
|Achilles Repair||$5,700 to $12,000|
Ankle surgery details
If the fracture is displaced or the ankle is unstable, the fracture is indicated for surgical treatment. Thus, the bone fragments are first repositioned for a normal alignment. They are then fixed with screws and metal plates attached to the outer surface of the bone. In some cases, a screw or rod is inserted inside the bone will be used to secure the bone fragments during healing.
The healing process after an ankle fracture takes at least 6 weeks, but this interval can be even longer if ligaments and tendons are affected.
What are the additional costs?
As we already mentioned, the estimated costs may or may not include any prescription drugs, the facility fee, anesthesia, bone setting, MRIs, casts, CTs and x-rays.
Your doctor will ask for an MRI or x-rays to confirm the fracture and the best treatment before even considering ankle surgery. The doctor will be able to see if the ligament has been torn or the bone has been fractured, with the help of this MRI or x-ray. Whether it is a fracture or sprain, the majority of these injuries can be treated without any type of surgery, but conservatively.
The costs may increase to more than a few thousand dollars if you would need to go to an emergency room. The costs for the supplies used during the visit, the doctor fee, and the emergency room visit fee should also be included in this fee.
After any type of treatment crutches might be required. You will have to pay anywhere between $25 and $60 for one pair of decent crutches.
Depending on your circumstances, you may have to go through physical therapy to regain your balance and strength. The average cost of one session would be anywhere between $55 and more than $130 without insurance and several sessions will usually be necessary.
Important things to consider
Surgery is not an option if the ankle is stable, i.e. if the broken bone is not moved and the ligaments are intact. The type of treatment required may vary depending on where the bone is fractured.
Conservative treatment consists of immobilizing the ankle with a circular plaster cast or an orthosis during the healing of the fracture. The patient will need to see the orthopedic doctor regularly for repeated x-rays of the ankle to ensure that the fracture fragments did not move during the healing process.
Most people resume their usual daily activities except for sports within 3-4 months. It may also take several months for the patient to stop limping as he or she walks and before he or she can resume sports activity at the previous competitive level. Most people regain their ability to drive within 9 to 12 weeks of injury.
Risks associated with surgical treatment of an ankle fracture include:
- The difficulty of healing the fracture;
- The prominence of the plate and screws used to fix the fracture. Some patients choose to have them removed a few months after the fracture heals.
How can I save money?
You may be able to get a discount from some hospitals if you pay upfront in cash or if you meet certain income guidelines. Make sure you talk with the hospital’s finance department to get more information.
In case you fractured your ankle, take into consideration going to a 24/7 urgent care and not at the emergency room from your local hospital. The costs charged by the urgent care centers may be up to 80% lower.