How Much Does Parotidectomy Surgery Cost?

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

Parotidectomy is the surgical removal of the parotid glands, which are the largest of the salivary glands located on each side of the face in front of the ears. This surgery may be necessary to remove tumors, treat recurring infections, or drain abscesses affecting the parotid gland.

But as a major procedure often requiring hospitalization, complex reconstructive surgery, and extensive follow-up care, parotidectomy is also a significant financial investment.

This guide covers everything you need to know about the typical price range for parotidectomy surgery, itemized costs for pre-op, surgery and anesthetic fees, hospital stay, aftercare, and follow-up appointments. We’ll also discuss the key factors that impact pricing, insurance coverage details, financing options to pay for out-of-pocket expenses, and more.


How Much Does Parotidectomy Surgery Cost?

The total costs associated with having a parotidectomy are between $10,000 and $20,000+ and can be divided into pre-operative expenses, the surgery itself, hospitalization fees, and post-operative aftercare and follow-up appointments. Here’s what’s typically included:

Pre-Surgery Costs

  • Consultation visit with an ENT surgeon or surgical oncologist: $200 – $500
  • Diagnostic imaging like ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI: $500 – $2,000+
  • Biopsy of any concerning mass or tumor: $500 – $1,000
  • Lab tests like bloodwork: $100 – $300

Surgery Fees

  • Surgeon’s fee: $3,000 – $5,000
  • Operating room charges: $2,000 – $4,000
  • Anesthesia fees: $1,000 – $2,000
  • 1-2 day hospital stay: $2,000 – $5,000 per day

Post-Surgery Expenses

  • Prescription pain medications and antibiotics: $50 – $200
  • 1-2 Follow up visits with surgeon: $100 – $300 per visit
  • Pathology analysis of removed tissue: $300 – $500
  • Physical therapy if needed: $50 – $200 per session

Total Parotidectomy Surgery Cost: $10,000 – $20,000+

Less complex procedures on the lower end of the price spectrum, while extensive oncological cases approach the higher range.

According to a study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website, the average total cost for a parotidectomy procedure was found to be $30,546.30, while a less invasive transfacial resection technique had a significantly lower average cost of $22,482.21. The study compared the costs between the two procedures, including factors like anesthesia charges, operating room charges, and surgeon fees.

Texas Sinus and Snoring provides information about parotidectomy and submandibular gland excision procedures. While they do not explicitly state the cost, they mention that both procedures are typically performed under general anesthesia and involve incisions in the neck area. Recovery time and potential risks, such as nerve damage, are also discussed.

Dr. Scott Kay’s website, which offers parotid surgery services in New Jersey, states that the cost of the procedure depends on factors like insurance benefits. They accept most insurance plans and offer financing options like CareCredit® to cover the cost of the surgery.

An article on the NCBI website discusses the potential for minimally invasive benign parotid surgery, including the possibility of outpatient or “same-day” parotidectomy procedures. While no specific cost figures are provided, the article mentions that one study found the average hospital cost to be $1,200 less and the profit $1,500 more for outpatient parotidectomy compared to inpatient procedures.

Factors Influencing Parotidectomy Surgery Costs

Several variables impact the total price quote for undergoing a parotidectomy:

  • Type of parotidectomy – Superficial is cheaper than total or radical.
  • Complexity if additional tissue removal, nerve dissection, or reconstruction is required.
  • Any pre-existing health conditions that complicate surgery.
  • Hospital’s geographic location and its overhead expenses.
  • Surgeon’s level of experience and specialty reputation.
  • Length of inpatient hospital stay post-surgery.
  • Extent of insurance coverage and remaining out-of-pocket responsibility.

More involved procedures or cases with complications will be at the upper end of the $10,000 – $20,000+ overall cost range.

Parotidectomy Surgery Overview

Parotidectomy surgery entails the partial or total removal of the parotid salivary gland, which sits in front of the ear and produces saliva. There are three main types of parotidectomy:

Partial or Superficial Parotidectomy: Only the tumor or affected portion of the gland is removed while preserving facial nerve function.

Total Parotidectomy: The entire parotid gland is surgically removed. This has a higher risk of facial nerve damage impacting facial expressions and sensations on the affected side.

Radical Parotidectomy: Removal of the entire parotid gland, facial nerve, surrounding fat, lymph nodes and sometimes underlying muscle and other tissue if cancer has spread. This extensive surgery often requires reconstructive methods and has the highest risk of facial paralysis.

Parotidectomy is most often performed to remove benign or malignant tumors affecting the gland, such as pleomorphic adenomas, Warthin’s tumors, or parotid cancer. Severe recurrent infections, cysts, abscesses or calcifications may also warrant gland removal if unresponsive to other treatments.

Health Insurance Plans

Parotidectomy SurgerySince parotidectomy is medically necessary for conditions like cancer, tumors, and severe infections, the surgery is generally covered under health insurance but with varying out-of-pocket costs:

  • Medicare covers 80% of the Medicare-approved amount after you pay the Part B deductible.
  • Medicaid covers parotidectomy fully in most states if deemed medically necessary. Minimal copays if any.
  • Private insurers often cover 70% to 90% of the approved charges after you meet your plan’s annual deductible. You pay the remaining percentage.

You might also like our articles about the cost of anesthesia, Tommy John surgery, or carpal tunnel surgery.

Getting pre-authorization from your insurance provider is key, but significant coinsurance costs, copays, and deductibles may remain even with coverage.

Payment Plans and Finance Options

If health insurance leaves you with expensive out-of-pocket costs for a medically required parotidectomy, some options to pay include:

  • Payment plans offered by many hospitals and clinics to pay the amount owed in installments over 6-24 months.
  • Medical credit cards or personal loans with reasonable rates and extended repayment terms.
  • Applying for financial assistance or charity care programs through healthcare organizations or non-profits.
  • Using tax-free money in an HSA or FSA account if you have one.

Discuss payment arrangements with your ENT’s billing office before the surgery date to budget the costs sensibly over time.

Things to Know About Surgery Costs

To summarize the main takeaways on costs and financial considerations for parotidectomy:

  • Total surgery costs typically range from $10,000 to over $20,000+ for more complex cases.
  • The specifics of the procedure, length of hospital stay, surgeon fees, and location all significantly impact pricing.
  • Health insurance provides coverage but often leaves thousands in out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Payment plans, financing options, and financial assistance programs exist to help budget big costs over time.

Doing your research and planning ahead allows you to navigate the sizable price tag associated with this surgery if your ENT specialist recommends it as the best treatment option.

Examples of Parotidectomy Surgery Costs

To better understand real-world costs patients encounter, here are two examples of parotidectomy surgery scenarios and associated expenses:

Simple Superficial Parotidectomy – Sarah’s Experience

Sarah required a superficial parotidectomy to remove a benign tumor in her left parotid gland. As an outpatient surgery at a surgical center with no complications, her costs amounted to:

  • Surgeon fee: $3,500
  • Anesthesia: $1,200
  • Facility fee: $2,500
  • Labs and follow up: $600
  • Medications: $150
  • Total Cost: $7,950

With insurance coverage, her out-of-pocket responsibility came to $1,500.

Total Parotidectomy and Selective Neck Dissection – John’s Case

John was diagnosed with parotid cancer requiring a total radical parotidectomy and extensive lymph node removal. His multi-day inpatient surgery and care costs were:

  • Surgeon and oncologist fees: $5,000
  • Anesthesia: $1,800
  • 5-day hospital stay: $4,000/day = $20,000
  • Pharmacy and medical supplies: $2,000
  • Follow up radiation therapy: $8,000
  • Total Charges: $36,800

After insurance, John’s portion was $7,500 plus prescriptions and therapy copays.

Frequently Asked Questions

See some common questions about parotidectomy costs and considerations below:

How long is hospital stay for parotidectomy?

For uncomplicated procedures, patients usually stay 1-2 nights before being discharged home. More extensive or complex surgeries often require longer 3-5 day inpatient stays for additional monitoring and pain management.

What pain management options are available after parotidectomy?

Options include IV and oral pain medications in the hospital, followed by prescription pill painkillers and numbing creams during at-home recovery. Some pain and tightness is expected as the area heals.

What not to do after parotidectomy?

Recovery restrictions include no lifting over 5-10 lbs, no strenuous activity, no drinking with straws, no skin-to-skin facial contact, limited head movement and facial expressions, and eating soft foods temporarily. Follow all provider instructions.

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