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Cost of carpal tunnel surgery

The average cash price for carpal tunnel surgery care is $2,197 at a surgery center versus $3,351 at an outpatient hospital. While a surgery center may offer fewer complimentary services, and may not have the full range of support services that outpatient hospital provides, it may still be worth the (34%) you'd save when comparing the cost of carpal tunnel surgery performed at an outpatient hospital. Read More

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Average cash price in U.S.

A common carpal tunnel surgery at surgery center facility in U.S. includes

  Units Avg Cash price

Provider

Hand surgeon visit provider fee

First time visit Standard
1 $138

Provider fee to release and/or relocate ulnar (arm) nerve at wrist, or median nerve at carpal tunnel

Standard Standard
1 $541

Facility

Surgery center fee to release and/or relocate ulnar (arm) nerve at wrist, or median nerve at carpal tunnel

Standard Standard
1 $996

Imaging

Radiology fee for wrist x-ray

2 views Standard
1 $46

Anesthesia

Anesthesiologist fee to be "put under" for procedure

Level 2 Standard
1 $134

Anesthesiologist time to be "put under" for procedure

Per minute Standard
171 $342
Total average cash price   $2,197.40

A common carpal tunnel surgery at outpatient hospital facility in U.S. includes

  Units Avg Cash price

Provider

Hand surgeon visit provider fee

First time visit Standard
1 $138

Provider fee to release and/or relocate ulnar (arm) nerve at wrist, or median nerve at carpal tunnel

Standard Standard
1 $541

Facility

Outpatient Hospital fee to release and/or relocate ulnar (arm) nerve at wrist, or median nerve at carpal tunnel

level 1 Standard
1 $2,150

Imaging

Radiology fee for wrist x-ray

2 views Standard
1 $46

Anesthesia

Anesthesiologist fee to be "put under" for procedure

Level 2 Standard
1 $134

Anesthesiologist time to be "put under" for procedure

Per minute Standard
171 $342
Total average cash price   $3,351.40

Carpal tunnel surgery is a surgical procedure to relieve pressure on a nerve in the wrist that causes the pain, numbness, and tingling associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, your health insurance should cover carpal tunnel surgery.

The carpal tunnel is a passageway in your wrists that is formed by bones and muscle ligaments. The nerve that lets you move your fingers runs through the carpal tunnel. Repetitive stress injuries, pregnancy, sudden weight gain, or a genetic predisposition can cause swelling in your wrist, narrowing the carpal tunnel. When this happens, the nerve becomes pinched and can’t function as well. To relieve pain and regain function, your doctor may advise you to get carpal tunnel surgery.

During surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome, you shouldn’t experience any pain. The surgery is done under local anesthesia. The anesthesiologist injects numbing medication into your hand and wrist. You may feel some pressure during the procedure.  

After the surgery, you may have some discomfort and tenderness around the incision site. For most patient’s this pain is mild and can be controlled with pain medications at home. Your wrist may have some swelling for the first few days after surgery that can cause some mild discomfort.

Carpal tunnel surgery is a quick procedure lasting around 15 minutes. However, you may spend up to an hour in the operating room being prepared for the procedure and waiting for the numbing medication to take effect. 

After carpal tunnel surgery, you’ll need to be observed for a few hours to make sure you are recovering well. The numbing medication wears off after 2-3 hours. As it is an outpatient treatment, you’ll be able to go home the same day.

If you have chronic carpal tunnel syndrome and no other treatments have helped reduce your symptoms, then carpal tunnel surgery might be worth it. Carpal tunnel surgery can permanently relieve carpal tunnel syndrome for some patients. For others, it provides significant relief of pain and numbness. 

However, carpal tunnel surgery isn’t without risks, including scar tissue development that can impede grip strength and dexterity and loss of range of motion in the wrist and thumb. Discuss any potential risk factors with your doctor before deciding on surgery.

Carpal tunnel surgery is only one treatment option for carpal tunnel syndrome. Before carpal tunnel surgery, your doctor can help reduce your symptoms with other treatments like steroid injections and wrist splints.

Without any treatment, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to permanent damage and loss of function and sensation in your fingers and hand. If you’ve tried other treatments and nothing has worked, you should discuss carpal tunnel surgery with your doctor. Before you go to the office, you can check the average price of carpal tunnel surgery in your area.

Recovery from carpal tunnel surgery takes at least one month. After your surgery, your wrist needs to be in a splint for 1 to 2 weeks. Once the splint is removed, you can work with a physical therapist to strengthen the muscles in your hand and wrist the right way to avoid recurrence of symptoms. 

Full recovery from carpal tunnel surgery is when you no longer have pain gripping or moving your fingers. This can take up to 12 weeks for some patients.

You can use your hand for light tasks immediately after carpal tunnel surgery. This can be holding a glass or a book, but nothing weighing more than a pound. You can wiggle your fingers to keep them from getting stiff. Avoid gripping with your hand until after your stitches and splint have been removed.

About the carpal tunnel surgery Average Cash Prices

This procedure is most commonly performed at either a surgery center or an outpatient hospital.

Surgery centers, also known as ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), are independent, licensed medical facilities that are governed by distinct regulatory requirements compared with a hospital. Procedures performed at an ASCs are often less expensive than when they are performed at an outpatient hospital, but they typically offer fewer complimentary services, and may not have the full-range of support services that a hospital provides.

Outpatient facilities are outpatient departments or clinics that may be within or next to a hospital, but is owned and run by the affiliated hospital. These facilities can perform surgical treatments and procedures that do not require an overnight stay. Procedures performed at an outpatient hospital are often more expensive than when they are performed in an ambulatory surgery center, but outpatient hospitals may offer more complimentary and support services for patients because they are connected to the hospital system.

Your actual costs may be higher or lower than these cost estimates. Check with your provider and health plan details to confirm the costs that you may be charged for a service or procedure. You are responsible for costs that are not covered and for getting any pre-authorizations or referrals required by your health plan. Neither payments nor benefits are guaranteed.

The site is not a substitute for medical or health care advice and does not serve as a recommendation for a particular provider or type of medical or health care.

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* Savings estimate based on a study of more than 1 billion claims comparing self-pay (or cash pay) prices of a frequency-weighted market basket of procedures to insurer-negotiated rates for the same. Claims were collected between July 2017 and July 2019. R. Lawrence Van Horn, Arthur Laffer, Robert L. Metcalf. 2019. The Transformative Potential for Price Transparency in Healthcare: Benefits for Consumers and Providers. Health Management Policy and Innovation, Volume 4, Issue 3.

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