How Much Does Jaw Surgery Cost?

Last Updated on March 2, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery or maxillofacial surgery, refers to a variety of procedures that correct misalignments of the upper and lower jaws. It is performed for both cosmetic and functional reasons, such as improving one’s bite, fixing speech impediments, enhancing facial aesthetics, and treating chronic pain and sleep apnea.

The cost of jaw surgery can range widely, with prices from $15,000 to $60,000 typically depending on the specifics of each case. However, many factors influence the overall price of this complex maxillofacial procedure.

How Much Does Jaw Surgery Cost?

Overview of Common Jaw Surgeries

There are various types of orthognathic surgery depending on the exact nature of the jaw misalignment or malocclusion being addressed:

  • Mandibular osteotomy – surgery on the lower jawbone (mandible) to correct underbites, recessive chins, or jaw protrusion. This procedure costs around $15,000 to $35,000 on average.
  • Maxillary osteotomy – surgery on the upper jawbone (maxilla) to fix overbites, open bites, or receded chins. It averages $18,000 to $30,000 typically.
  • Bilateral sagittal split osteotomy (BSSO) – a procedure to correct severe underbites by cutting and vertically repositioning both sides of the lower jaw. BSSO costs $25,000 to $40,000 on average.
  • LeFort I osteotomy – surgery on the upper jaw and palate to reposition the maxilla in three dimensions to correct overbites and open bites. It runs from $30,000 to $45,000 generally.
  • Genioplasty – surgery to reshape the chin bone for cosmetic enhancement or to balance facial proportions. It averages $5,000 to $15,000 in cost.

As shown above, lower jaw surgeries like mandibular osteotomy tend to be less expensive than more complex maxillary procedures on average. However, patients often require multiple surgeries to fully correct their malocclusion and realign their jaws.

Itemized Costs of Jaw Surgery Procedures

To better understand the costs of orthognathic surgery, let’s break it down into itemized categories:

For mandibular osteotomy, costs include:

  • Surgeon’s fee – $5,000 to $15,000
  • Operating room – $3,000 to $8,000
  • Anesthesia – $1,500 to $3,000
  • Hospital stay – $1,000 to $5,000 per night
  • Metal plates & screws – $500 to $2,000
  • Diagnostic tests – $500 to $1,500

For BSSO, costs include:

  • Surgeon’s fee – $7,500 to $20,000
  • Operating room – $5,000 to $12,000
  • Anesthesia – $2,000 to $4,000
  • Hospital stay – $2,000 to $7,000 per night
  • Bone grafts – $500 to $1,500
  • Metal plates & screws – $800 to $2,500
  • Diagnostic tests – $800 to $2,000

As shown, the surgeon’s fees, surgical supplies, operating room charges, and hospital stay account for the bulk of total costs. The specific complexity of the case and treatment needs influence costs as well.

Healthline reports that jawline surgery can cost anywhere from $6,500 to $56,000, depending on the type of surgery. The cost varies based on the practitioner and the scope of the surgery. Insurance typically does not cover cosmetic jawline surgery.

JawImplant.com provides a detailed breakdown of corrective jaw surgery costs, including different procedures like Lower Jaw (BSSO) at $19,000, Upper Jaw (1 or 2 piece LeFort) at $20,200, and other related costs such as Genioplasty and post-operative care services.

GAFacial.com discusses corrective jaw surgery costs ranging from $20,000 to $40,000 for people without health insurance. The website emphasizes the importance of being well-informed about the procedure and its costs before making a decision.

Factors Influencing Jaw Surgery Costs

Surgical Complexity and Required Procedures

The number and type of procedures needed significantly impact the total cost. For example:

  • Minor single jaw surgery like a genioplasty may cost $5,000 to $15,000.
  • An intermediate procedure like mandibular osteotomy averages $15,000 to $35,000.
  • Major dual jaw surgery with LeFort I and BSSO can cost $40,000 to $60,000.
  • Complex bimaxillary surgery with bone grafting and genioplasty may cost over $50,000.

Additional factors like the severity of the misalignment, the need for bone grafting, and the inclusion of genioplasty or rhinoplasty all affect surgical fees. The more difficult the case, the longer operating times required as well.

Surgeon’s Experience and Geographic Location

Jaw surgeriesThe experience level and geographic location of the oral and maxillofacial surgeon also influence price.

  • Highly specialized surgeons in major metropolitan areas like New York or Los Angeles tend to charge more, averaging from $30,000 to $50,000 total.
  • Less experienced surgeons in smaller cities or rural areas charge on the lower end of the range, from $15,000 to $35,000 on average.
  • Surgeons in Canada and other countries often have lower rates than those in the U.S.

The reputation, expertise, training background, and surgical volume of the surgeon is critical for optimal results. This should take priority over price when selecting a surgeon.

Hospital or Surgical Facility Charges

The cost of the operating room, supplies, anesthesiology team, and overnight hospital stay also contributes significantly to the total price of orthognathic procedures.

  • Having surgery at an outpatient surgical center is generally cheaper than a hospital.
  • Overnight hospital fees often add $2,000 to $5,000 per night to the total.
  • Medications, surgical tools, and consumable supplies can cost $1,000 to $3,000 or more.

Choosing an affordable surgical facility helps control costs if paying out-of-pocket.

Insurance Coverage and Out-of-Pocket Costs

Insurance Claims for Jaw Surgery

The amount covered by health insurance depends on the specifics of your policy. Typically, functional orthognathic surgery has much higher approval rates than purely cosmetic procedures.

  • Procedures clearly shown to improve obstructive sleep apnea, TMJ disorders, chronic pain, or speech impediments have the best chance for coverage.
  • Making a strong case for the medical necessity of surgery is key during preauthorization.
  • On average, insurance covers 50% to 80% of medically necessary functional jaw surgery after deductibles and copays.
  • Straightforward dental malocclusions or minor cosmetic issues are often denied.

Preauthorization and Documentation Needed

To have the best shot at approval, the surgeon must submit a comprehensive preauthorization letter and clinical documentation that details:

  • Nature of functional impairment (sleep apnea, pain, etc)
  • Severity of malocclusion shown on dental/cephalometric radiographs
  • Photographs of facial deformity
  • Consequences if surgery is not performed
  • Full treatment plan with estimated surgery dates

Thorough documentation and clear medical necessity are key to getting medically required procedures covered.

Insurance Exclusions

Items often not covered by insurance for orthognathic surgery include:

  • Orthodontic treatment to prepare teeth for surgery
  • Virtual surgical planning and 3D printing
  • Any anesthesia outside of the hospital
  • Prescription medications and post-op care
  • Revision procedures
  • Complications or adverse events
  • LeFort I osteotomies for purely cosmetic improvement

Out-of-Pocket Costs to Expect

Even with decent insurance coverage, significant out-of-pocket costs often remain, which may include:

  • Deductibles of $1,000 or more per year
  • Copays of 10% to 50% of the surgeon’s fee
  • Orthodontic treatment of $5,000 or more
  • Hospital fees above the allowed amounts
  • Portions of the anesthesiology and lab fees
  • Any excluded items listed above

On average, expect to pay $10,000 to $30,000 out-of-pocket for orthognathic surgery after insurance.

Financing and Payment Options

Exploring Financing Options and Payment Plans

If insurance will not cover the full cost or leaves you with unaffordable out-of-pocket expenses, flexible financing options can help fund orthognathic surgery procedures. Common options include:

  • Payment plans or discounts offered by the surgeon – Many offer 0% interest financing for 1 to 5 years.
  • Medical credit cards – Providers like CareCredit offer 6 to 24 month 0% interest plans.
  • Medical loans or doctor loans – Offers low-interest fixed payments over 2 to 7 years.
  • Using a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) – Limited to how much you’ve saved.
  • Crowdfunding through sites like GoFundMe – Create a campaign for donations.
  • Grants or assistance programs – Rare, but can provide some coverage.

Also read about the cost of Cataract surgery, bunion surgery, and Invisalign.

Maximize Your Insurance Benefits

Be sure to optimize use of your insurance by:

  • Having surgery scheduled near the start of your plan year
  • Ensuring deductibles are met prior to the procedure date
  • Using an in-network surgeon and surgical facility
  • Checking if multiple procedures done concurrently have lower coinsurance
  • Negotiating an “elevated” plan allowance for the surgery
  • Appealing any denied charges or unreasonable reductions

Tips for Managing Out-of-Pocket Expenses

If paying for jaw surgery completely out-of-pocket, here are some tips to reduce costs:

  • Compare surgeon rates at different practices – pricing can vary widely
  • Check if surgeons offer cash-pay discounts for prepayment
  • See if any surgical steps can be performed under local anesthesia rather than general
  • Consider having the procedure at an ambulatory surgery center rather than a hospital
  • Compare surgical implant costs – plates, screws, and bone grafts can vary
  • Negotiate fees for imaging, labs, medications, and postoperative care

Finding ways to minimize your own out-of-pocket costs requires thorough research and planning. Ask every provider for a detailed cost breakdown before committing.

Final Words

The price for orthognathic maxillofacial surgery can vary widely based on the specifics of your case. When budgeting and planning for jaw realignment surgery, be sure to take into account the surgical complexity, surgeon’s reputation, insurance coverage details, and financing options available.

While often expensive, necessary orthognathic procedures can be made more affordable with proper planning and research. Consult with both surgeons and your insurance provider early on to develop the most cost-effective treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is jaw surgery worth it?

For patients with chronic debilitating jaw/bite issues, breathing problems like sleep apnea, or facial deformities, jaw surgery can certainly be worth it. The benefits of realigned jaws, improved facial form and aesthetics, restored dental occlusion, and resolution of impairments often outweigh the substantial costs of surgery for many patients.

However, the procedure does involve a long and challenging recovery period. Carefully weigh the pros and cons for your individual circumstances with an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

How many hours does jaw surgery take?

The duration of orthognathic surgery procedures varies based on complexity, but most take 2 to 6 hours total. This includes time to administer general anesthesia, perform the osteotomies and repositioning, place fixations, and suture the incisions.

The initial recovery room monitoring post-surgery also adds 1 to 2 hours typically. More complex bimaxillary surgeries often take over 4 to 6 hours total. The maxillofacial surgeon will discuss expected surgery lengths at your consultation visit.

What is the downside of jaw surgery?

The main potential downsides of orthognathic surgery involve the extensive recovery period, risks of complications, and high out-of-pocket costs. Jaw surgery recovery involves significant facial swelling, bruising, and discomfort for the first several weeks post-op.

Pain with chewing and diet restrictions are expected for 6 to 8 weeks. There are also risks like permanent facial numbness, relapse requiring revision surgery, and prolonged difficulty with eating, speaking, and oral hygiene. Weigh the pros and cons thoroughly with your surgeon.

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