A parotidectomy is the surgical removal of a major gland located near your ear. This procedure can be performed if there’s an abnormal mass inside that could potentially cause issues and pain, such as benign tumors. These masses are usually painless in nature but patients should still have them checked so that any potential problems or complications may be addressed. As harmless as these masses may seem, they must be removed since some of them can become cancerous. The cost for a parotidectomy depends on hospital fees and the surgeon’s expertise. The price will also be influenced by your geographical location and your health insurance plan.
How much does a parotidectomy cost?
Usually, the cost of salivary gland removal surgery or parotidectomy is somewhere between $8,500 and $15,600 without insurance. This will pay for everything from the hospital, anesthesia services, the physician, and two or more hospital days. This fee will also be influenced by the general hospital billing policy and any fees for the surgeon.
One Patient Forum member said that she had to pay $10,000 for her surgery which included room and board as well as medicine fees not covered by insurance to cover the lab work, recovery room stay, and anesthesiologist’s charge.
Doctors will typically refer you to a specialist before even considering surgery. The ENT doctor may be able to feel the tumor and remove it, but if they can’t tell what’s going on just by feeling around with their hands, then they’ll order blood work or biopsy samples for testing. If those are inconclusive too, an imaging test like CT scan or x-ray might also be recommended so that doctors know exactly whether your lump is benign or malignant.
The parotid gland, a major salivary gland near the ear and jawline is removed during this procedure. Under general anesthesia, an incision will be made in front of your earlobe that goes all the way to your neck to expose it. Once exposed, the surgeon will remove the part of the gland that is affected before stitching up any remaining holes with nearby tissues for stability.
The surgery for a mass near the eye and further away from the ear could take much longer than one in which it is below an ear. The surgeons must use highly technical microdissection tools to carefully remove the mass without damaging facial nerves that are crucial for sensation, speech, swallowing, and more.
Parotid gland surgery isn’t as simple as cutting out the growth. Since it’s close to nerves in your face, a surgeon has extra steps they need to take before and after removing any mass that may be present. If those protective measures aren’t taken, then there is potential for damage during or post-operation including having trouble closing their eyes or smiling, which can make them look older than usual too.
Recovery time following this procedure takes up about two months of healing.
Any additional expenses to consider?
Once the surgery is over, many of our clients are surprised to find out that some lab work done beforehand can be billed separately. The physician or anesthesiologist may also charge for their services during your hospital stay.
It is common for patients to have follow-up appointments after surgery. Doctors may state that it takes four months or longer before one can see a full recovery from a surgery like this. Depending on your initial agreement, the follow-up visits can be included in the initial cost or billed separately. Prescriptions such as pain medication might also be needed during this time period while healing occurs.
Important things to remember
You may notice stiffness in your neck or shoulder area after the procedure, but it will go away after several weeks as long you apply special skin cream.
There are other risks associated with this surgery that include facial paralysis if the facial nerve is damaged during the intervention, or in some cases bleeding or infection.
When the operation is complete, it can be challenging to keep one’s neck from getting sweaty while eating. To fix this problem all you have to do is use a roll-on antiperspirant.
When it comes to finding a skilled surgeon, there are many considerations. You want someone with experience and who has performed the same procedure that you’re interested in a lot of times before. If they can’t answer your questions or don’t seem as knowledgeable about their craft then find another doctor.
Any way to spend less?
Asking your insurance provider if they cover any of the costs for a procedure can save you a lot of money. You will only be required to pay for deductibles and co-pays as long as the doctor deems this procedure a medical necessity.
If you don’t have insurance, be sure to do your research and haggle with the hospital. They will usually knock off a certain percentage if they know you can pay cash upfront or that it is an emergency situation.