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How much does ACL reconstruction cost?


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I am considering ACL reconstructive surgery - what kind of cost do I have to expect. I live in the USA.


The answer to how much *you* will have to pay varies on many factors, in particular on whether you have health insurance and how much your insurance will cover.

In my case I was diganosed (from an MRI) that I had a torn ACL but my meniscus seemed ok according to the MRI.

During the surgery they found that the meniscus was partially torn (75% tear) and they stitched it.

Every service in this procedure is billed and paid separately:

- your doctor who orders the MRI
- the MRI
- the surgeon who performes the ACL reconstruction
- the anesthesia
- the surgeon's assistant(!)
- the hospital (facility) where it all happens
- afterwards the physical therapy

The following numbers will be first what each instance was billed at, followed in () how much I actually paid. Note that my insurance negotiated in most cases on the billable amount, e.g. the facility was billed by the hospital at $2081 for those 4 hours, my insurance negotiated it down to $1600, the insurance paid $1440 and I paid $160.

- your doctor who orders the MRI
$700 ($260)

- the MRI
fully paid by insurance

- the surgeon who performes the ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair
$2500 ($250)

- the anesthesia
$2000 ($250)

- the hospital (facility) where it all happens
$2000 ($160)

- afterwards the physical therapy
$70 ($15) per visit, expect 16-24 visits = ~ $300 co-pay

I would say that the surgery is definitely worth it if you plan to live an active lifestyle. It sure depends also on at what stage in life you are. After the surgery make sure to get the leg *fully* straight right away or you are looking into several months of painful attempts to stretch a shortened muscle. (That's what happened to me, unfortunately.)

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2007-11-06, 03:34:13
anonymous from Beijing, China  
I had my ACL reconstruction surgery in Beijing, China. The total cost including a week of hospital stay (that includes, doctor's visit, mri, xray, anaethesia, post surgery medicine, hopsital stay, three meals a day, visit from the physical therapist) came to about $3000 USD. I had no insurance in the US, and chose to get it done here cash. It was worth it, the surgery lasted about one and half hours and now I am already able to walk and bend to 90 degrees (each person differs).
2007-11-27, 21:05:09
anonymous from United States  
Non Disconted Rates

Pre-Hospital: AKA MRI, Ambulance initial consultation. 4,000

Hospital: 22,000 USD

I could see taking multi week India or South Africa vacatinon and then having the surgury.
2008-01-22, 09:00:07 from Mcallen, United States  
I think i need surgery for my ACL.... but iam verly 18... at first i dint believe i had a torn ligament until i kept playing and my knee kept popping till now that i read some articles i realize that this is serious i want to ask you guy if you know exactly how much it cost for the ACL surgery and after the surgery can i go back into playing soccer i mean soccer is my life and i want to play again please help me.................. Cristian
2008-01-25, 09:53:12
anonymous from United States  
Updated to Discounted Rates USD (AKA the silly insurance beat down)

AKA MRI, Ambulance, initial consultation: 4,000 -> 2,500

Day of Operation: 22,000 -> 13,000

Not included: PT/Followup's

If you don't have insurance and are paying cash get a few quotes and then ask them what the insurance company would pay.

2008-01-25, 14:29:25
[hidden] from Minneapolis, United States  
I just returned from Bangkok Thailand where I was diagnosed at Bumrungrad hospital with a lateral tear in both meniscus'.

The tears were treated by snipping away the loose material, about half of my meniscus in each case. These tears can not be stitched, and as I watched the video monitor, they seemed to be clearing out a lot of shredded material (but I have no idea whether this is usual or unusual).

I had both knees done in a single session, stayed two nights in the hospital and will be avoiding any twisting for six weeks.

Total cost was under $7,000 USD. I was wondering whether it had been worthwhile to have the surgery while abroad. I was glad to find this discussion and discover that indeed it was very worthwhile. My recovery is going very well, probably because the work could be done without ripping open my knees.

My husband and I are self-employed with high deductible insurance. We'd planned to have a variety of medical tests done since we didn't expect to have anything that would approach our deductible. The surgery put us over our deductible, and now I'm waiting to see how my insurance carrier deals with my claim.

I'd been in pain for quite some time, and rest was no longer helpful. However, I didn't suspect the damage was as severe as it was. The doctor was surprised I was still walking, though the pain would come and go, so I figured it was arthritis rather than cartilage damage.

I would do the same again in a minute. The care was excellent, the facilities among the best in the world, our doctors and nurses were all fluent in English (most of the physicians have trained in the US).

We are swing dancers and the doctor expects me to be back lindy hopping in a few weeks.
2008-02-03, 13:39:16
I'm hoping that someone will be able to help me. My boyfriend tore his ACL about a year ago and got re constructive surgery and went to PT and all that. His knee is still hurting him, and he's gone back to the original physician who said another surgery might be needed. Last week he fell, twisting his knee and was unable to move it for the rest of the night. He is incredibly stubborn and refuses to go see another physician, but I'm concerned he could have torn it again. Any suggestions?
2008-02-03, 14:38:24
anonymous from Belgium  
I can hardly believe what I've been reading here. I came linked through google to find out what the total cost difference is between the meniscal repair I had done here to what it would be in the states (having a debate regarding socialized medicine).

I have not received the bill yet for my surgery which was one meniscus repair (plus patellar cartilige repair on both knees), but having had it done five years ago on the other knee, I seem to recall the single surgery costing around 600 euros, of which I paid (I think, because this was before the euro was introduced) 40 euros. The pre-surgery exams with the doctor now cost around 30-50 euros (of which we receive a good portion back) and the scan co-payment is something like 20.

To give an example in the difference of real-cost fees, to see our family doctor it now costs about 25 euros, before we get a return from our insurance.

But I don't want to mislead anyone, as we do pay for our insurance (per year about 75 euros per person) and through the nose for taxes in other ways (21 percent sales tax, which is integrated into the price of goods and services) and between 35 and 50 percent in income tax... but considering the buffer of affordible care when you need it, I'm not complaining...

If anyone is interested, I'll come back to post the total cost when I receive the bills...
2008-02-15, 23:57:09 from Canada  
I'm in Canada... Nasty Fall, about 12-13 feet w/ 40lbs unbalanced extra weight on my person at time of incident... Nasty Tibial plateau fracture, Nasty vertical split in my Tibia, ankle fractured in two places at least (another MRI coming up). complete ACL tear, and PCL tear, etc. I was rushed to hospital as i couldn't really keep my lower leg from wanting to roll over, I have to say i am damn glad i was in shock... The pain afterwards was so intense, but i remember being oddly calm when i was carried away to a stretcher...

First surgery was about 1 week post accident, they had to cut my knee right open, i had about 25 staples in it. But managed to reattach a piece of bone, and the ACL. Apparently they don't fix PCLs, and unfortunately i was casted up for about 2 months plus. The casting made the recovery far far more difficult. My knee was held in place after the surgery for the bones to heal. My leg wasted away pretty good without the impact / weight bearing, lack of movement, and extreme trauma from incident, and the invasive surgery needed to put it back together... It's been about 10 months now... I am walking with a limp, and can bike, School is putting a dent in my physio time, as is work. But I am leaps and bounds better then when the cast first came off. i couldn't lift my lower leg to save my life at that point, and almost destroyed my shoulder from the extensive use of crutches to go anywhere. (i don't like staying in and resting). I notice that its still very stiff when i wake up in the morning, and stiffens up if I am sitting in the car for say 30 minutes plus, but seems to loosen up pretty quickly.

Total cost of the surgery $0, My physio is covered unless I miss an appointment then it's $40. if I had to pay for it in full, it would only be about $48 a visit. I paid $80 for my third cast (fibre glass) but was reimbursed. The 3 CT scans were $0. Because of where I was, and the severity of the accident, I was in hospital a total of 2 weeks, also $0. But then again, i didn't get the tv (bout $7 a day).

I recently (December) had my second surgery. This one a scope to clear out all the accumulated scar tissue etc from my knee (side effect of immobilization) It was outpatient service. took a couple hours from when I arrived to when i left. Opted for local after they tried the spinal, and it hurt so bloody much I told them just to put me out instead. This surgery too was 0$, the anasthetic was 0$, and well... soon i get my MIR for my ankle, something still isn't right there... and that too will cost $0.

i came here searching for actual costs for the surgeries I underwent... As I wanted to see just what I would have had to pay for what happened. Especially considering as a student in the US I would have been able to afford very little in the way of insurance.

Some people knock our system, and I know its far from perfect. However, many of our problems stem from a lack of doctors, nurses, and technicians to run the facilities. We simply need to make more of them... If it came down to paying around $30000 for this stuff, I honestly would have been screwed. I feel my surgeries, hospital time, etc would have been more in the $50000 range... But don't know. Anyone have any estimates?
2008-03-02, 22:54:59   (updated: 2008-03-02, 22:56:30)
anonymous from United States  
i just had acl surgery and meniscus repair a month ago and so far it feels pretty good i'm able to walk with out crutches and brace since day 7th, now a month later i'm walking with no pain and walkin at work like normal well olmost like normal i just have to be more carefull not to trip or stumble but over all i'm very happy so far
2008-03-11, 07:52:07   (updated: 2008-03-11, 07:52:42)
[hidden] from Grand Rapids, United States  
I tore my ACL and tore the medial meniscus 6 weeks ago playing hockey. Sugery is scheduled for April 3. Luckily, my wife has great insurance, so cost is not an issue. However, I have the choice between the cadaever graft or using part of my hamstrings and side muscle(??). I have chosen the hamstring fix. Anybody have any thoughts on that?
2008-03-11, 12:02:36
Peter (Admin) from United States  
Hi Hockeyplayer, I didn't get the hamstring choice. The cadaever graft seems to be most expensive. Instead I got some material from the patellar tendon. That's the soft tissue that runs vertically across your knee cap.

'The standard operation to fix a torn ACL is with a patellar tendon graft. The surgeon takes out the middle section of the patellar tendon below the kneecap (patella). This new graft includes the strip of tendon, along with attached plugs of bone on each end. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as a bone-patellar-tendon-bone graft. The surgeon removes the torn ACL and puts the new graft into the knee, making sure to line it up just like the original ligament'

Right after the surgery my knee was in a brace, so I could not move it at all. I think on day 3 I started moving it. With 1/3 of that patellar tendon being gone, it was hard for me to lift my lower leg. Think sitting on a chair and doing leg lifts without weights: this was really hard.
However the missing tendon grew back and it's ok now.

In your case they are going to use the hamstring tendons from behind the knee. From what I read, the patellar tendon is easier to reach for the doctor, maybe that's why they like this method better.

I expect that you'll need to strengthen your damaged hamstrings afterwards, just as I had to build up my patellar tendon.

Good luck.
2008-03-11, 13:17:55
anonymous from United States  
He did offer me the Patella option as well but he has concerns about Patella 'itous' I guess. He has had a couple of patients in the past that have had this problem. Have you had any problems with the patella surgery?

Mike (hockeyplayer)
2008-03-18, 15:14:01
anonymous from United States  
Make sure you do you research and have this procedure done at a surgical center - not a hospital. A hospital will charge you up to $20,000 for the room alone, while a surgical center will cost 1/4th of that or less. If you're doctor doesn't offer the surgery in a surgical center - find one that does!

2008-03-18, 19:26:24
Peter (Admin) from United States  
Hi Mike, just now saw your question. I didn't have problems with the patella part. But I didn't stretch right after the surgery. It took pretty long afterwards to get full range of motion.
2008-03-19, 21:44:04
anonymous from Canada  
Thanks to our wonderful Canadian Health system the cost is zero but the waiting list is huge over 19023 peoplel waiting in BC alone for orthopedic operations in 2006 and the list grows. Its at least 18 months to get the operation after the time you see the specialist. To pay about $6000.00 what a rip pay for heath care get none and have to pay again to get out of the pain and damage your doing to your self while you wait for the crap health care to do its job Nice health care EH! doctors dont want the health care patients the want the gravy as well.... hmm how long does the premier of BC have to wait for surgery?
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