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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Medical Specialties & Departments > Kidney Stone Treatment

Kidney Stone Treatment Cost


How Much Does Kidney Stone Treatment Cost?

 
average costNon-Surgical Treatment: $132-$500high costSurgical Treatment or Lithotripsy: $7,400-$20,000+
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Kidney stones are formed by minerals in the urine. They can be extremely painful and can, in some cases, cause blockage that interferes with kidney function or leads to kidney damage.

Typical costs:

  • Kidney stone treatment typically would be covered by health insurance. For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically would consist of a doctor visit specialist copay, prescription drug copays, possibly a hospital copay of $100 or more, and coinsurance of 10% to 50% for the procedure, which could reach the yearly out-of-pocket maximum. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation[1] , the average hospital copay for outpatient surgery is $132 and for inpatient surgery is $232.The average coinsurance rate is 17% to 18%.
  • For patients not covered by health insurance, kidney stone treatment typically costs less than $500 to allow the stone to pass naturally with monitoring from a doctor, and possibly prescription medication. For example, at Southern Illinois Urology, the cost of a doctor consultation is $150. One medicine sometimes prescribed to patients with kidney stones, Urocit-K, costs about $65 for a one-month supply at Drugstore.com. Another, Zyloprim, costs about $80. Generic versions of some of the drugs are available for less than $20; for example, Drugstore.com sells 100 tablets of Allopurinol (generic Zyloprim) for $13.99.
  • Kidney stone treatment can cost from just under $10,000 to $20,000 or more for surgical removal or extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). For example, at Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center[2] , in Lincoln, NE, a cystourethroscopy -- a kind of examination of the urinary tract using a long, flexible tube -- with removal of a kidney stone typically costs about $7,400-$12,200, not including doctor fee. At Garden City Hospital[3] , in Michigan, the full price of a surgical kidney stone removal via cystoscopy is about $8,700 -- but the hospital offers it at a discounted price of about $2,500 for uninsured patients. Fragmenting a kidney stone using ESWL typically costs about $10,700-$16,700 or more. At Baptist Memorial Health Care, in Memphis, ESWL costs about $9,870 not including the doctor fee. According to NewChoiceHealth.com[4] , the national average cost for ESWL is $17,400 -- with range from $8,300 to $35,800.
Related articles: Urinary Tract Infection Treatment, CT Scan

What should be included:
  • Some smaller kidney stones can pass naturally. After first seeking the advice of a doctor, the patient would drink at least six glasses of water per day, and use over-the-counter pain relievers -- and possibly prescription medications -- while waiting for the stone to pass. WebMD has information[5] on medications for kidney stones.
  • For ESWL, the most common method of treatment for stones that are actually in the kidney (rather than the ureters or bladder), the patient is placed under local or general anesthesia and lies in either a tub of warm water or on a special cushion on a table. X-rays or ultrasound are used to locate the kidney stone, then up to 2,000 shock waves are passed through the patient to crush the stone. Typically, a day or two of hospitalization is required, and there might be pain or bleeding as fragments are passed.
  • In ureteroscopy, which is often used for stones in the ureters (the tubes connecting the bladder to the kidneys), the doctor passes a flexible scope with a basket on it through the urethra, and bladder, into the ureters. The doctor grabs the stone with the basket and removes it. This typically is an outpatient procedure.
  • In percutaneous nephrolithotomy/percutaneous nephrolithotripsy, which might be used for stones of a size or shape that make them impossible to remove through other methods, the patient is placed under general anesthesia. The doctor makes a small incision in the back and inserts instruments to either remove or break up the stone. A few days of hospitalization and about a week off work are required.
  • The National Kidney Foundation offers overviews of ESWL[6] , ureteroscopy[7] and percutaneous nephrolithotomy/nephrolithotripsy[8] .
Additional costs:
  • Depending on the type of kidney stone, a dietician might recommend a kidney stone prevention diet[9] . Many hospitals have dieticians available, and an initial consultation can cost $100-$200.
Discounts:
  • Some clinics, such as the NYC Free Clinic[10] and the Clinic at Brackenridge[11] in Austin, TX, offer access to specialist care. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services offers a tool[12] to find a federally funded health clinic.
Shopping for kidney stone treatment:
  • The American Urological Association offers a urologist locator[13] by zip code. It is important to check to make sure the doctor is board-certified by the American Board of Urology[14] .
  • It is important to discuss risks with the doctor. Risks vary, depending on the treatment but can include reaction to anesthesia, infection and bleeding.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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External Resources:
  1.  kff.org/health-costs/report/employer-health-benefits-2012-annual-survey/
  2.  tp.chi.acelogicus.net/nese/Default.aspx
  3.  www.gch.org/Home.aspx?id=219&sid=1
  4.  www.newchoicehealth.com/Directory/Procedure/136/Lithotripsy%20(Kidney%20Stone%20Removal...
  5.  www.webmd.com/kidney-stones/kidney-stones-medications
  6.  www.kidney.org/atoz/content/lithotripsy.cfm
  7.  www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneystones_Ureteroscopy.cfm
  8.  www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneystones_PNN.cfm
  9.  kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/kidneystonediet/
  10.  nycfreeclinic.med.nyu.edu/information-for-patients/schedule-appointment
  11.  www.seton.net/locations/brackenridge/services
  12.  bphc.hrsa.gov/technicalassistance/taresources/slidingscale.html
  13.  www.urologyhealth.org/urology/findurologist.cfm
  14.  www.abu.org/
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