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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Medical Equipment and Orthopedics > Prosthetic Leg

Prosthetic Leg Cost


How Much Does a Prosthetic Leg Cost?

 
average costWith Health Insurance: Copays + 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $10,000-$70,000+
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A prosthetic leg can be used when a patient has had part or all of a leg amputated, often due to diabetes or an injury. Prosthetic legs range from basic devices that allow a patient to walk on a flat surface to computerized legs that allow patients to run or engage in extreme sports.

Typical costs:

  • For patients with health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of doctor visit copays and coinsurance of 10%-50%. All types of prosthetic legs typically are covered by health insurance, but the particular leg that will be covered usually depends on the individual patient's amputation level, condition and needs. For example, The BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina policy for lower-limb prostheses[1] states that myoelectric, or computer-controlled, prosthetic legs would be covered for patients who have the physical strength and demonstrated need to move for long distances at variable rates of speed or over uneven terrain. A basic prosthetic leg might be covered for a homebound individual who needs to move around the house.
  • For patients without health insurance, a prosthetic leg typically costs less than $10,000 for a basic prosthetic leg up to $70,000 or more for a more advanced computerized prosthetic leg controlled by muscle movements. Costs depend on the type of leg and the level of amputation.
  • For example, according to a white paper[2] from the Bioengineering Institute Center for Neuroprosthetics, at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a basic below-the-knee prosthetic that would allow a patient to walk on flat ground costs $5,000-$7,000, while one that would allow the patient to walk on stairs and bumpy ground could cost $10,000. For a device that would allow a patient to walk and run as well as a non-amputee, the cost could go up to $15,000. Prosthetics with special hydraulic or mechanical systems that allow for movement control can cost more than $15,000. And a computer-assisted prosthetic leg costs $20,000 or more. According to Brown University, the C-Leg computerized prosthetic leg[3] by Otto-Bock, for above-the-knee amputees, can cost as much as $50,000, or up to $70,000 or more, including the prosthetic foot.
  • A prosthetic leg likely will need to be replaced several times during a patient's lifetime, and patients need ongoing adjustments. A Department of Veterans Affairs study[4] showed the average lifetime cost for prosthetics and medical care for loss of a single leg for a veteran of the Iraq or Afghanistan wars was more than $1.4 million.
Related articles: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • A few weeks or months after amputation surgery, the patient meets with a prosthetist, a health professional who specializes in evaluating and fitting patients with prostheses. The prosthetist takes measurements of the patient and creates a cast of the stump so a temporary prosthesis can be created, to be used for a year or longer while the stump heals and changes shape and size due to muscle atrophy.
  • When the stump has stabilizes, the patient will meet with the prosthetist again to get details about the different types of permanent prosthetic limbs available. The prosthetist will take another cast of the stump, and the permanent prosthetic leg will be created.
  • After testing the prosthetic leg both in the prosthetist's office and during daily activities, the patient will return for a final fitting. If desired, a cosmetic cover can be created in the style chosen by the patient. The Amputee Coalition offers an overview of prosthetic knee types and technology[5] , including pneumatic or hydraulic knees and more advanced knees controlled by microprocessors.
  • LimbSpecialists.com offers a step-by-step guide[6] to the process of getting a prosthetic leg.
Additional costs:
  • Physical therapy and occupational therapy, which helps patients learn how to perform daily tasks at home or work, will be required. Physical therapy typically costs $50-$350 per session, and occupational therapy can cost $50-$400 per session. Total costs for therapy can reach tens of thousands of dollars. The Amputee Coalition offers a guide to physical and occupational therapy[7] .
Discounts:
  • Various non-profit organizations provide financial help or free prosthetic limbs for patients in need. The Amputee Coalition offers a list of financial resources and non-profits[8] .
Shopping for a prosthetic leg:
  • OandPCare.org offers a prosthetist locator[9] . A patient should be evaluated and fitted for a prosthetic leg by a prosthetist who is certified by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics[10] or the Board for Orthotist/Prosthetist Certification [11] .
  • The Amputee Coalition offers tips on choosing a prosthetist[12] .
  • MedScape.com provides a guide to choosing a prosthetic leg[13] .
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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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
above knee prosthesis
Amount: $37,000.00
Posted by: tim Przybylski in Baltimore, MD.Posted: September 11th, 2014 03:09PM
Type of Leg: full suction,hydraulic knee,hydraulic anProsthetist: metro prosthetics
Medicare pays 80%piçked up kaiser permanente they said they would pay80% of the 20% left and I would end up paying 20% that wss left.,After 8 months Kaiser refused to pay., Bottom line Kaiser took àdvantage of me.Now I have to pay the 20% after Medicare played ,80%
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Help with cost of prosthetic
Amount: $10,000.00
Posted by: Samorrow in Detroit, MI.Posted: August 6th, 2014 02:08PM
Type of Leg: Bk right leglProsthetist: Tom Compton
Lost leg in aug of 2006 then lost med coverage and short term disability from work I am now in the process of filing for federal dis ability but I have been denied in mean time I can barely walk on leg because it dose not fit properly and because of that I have serious sores and mark on it
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Prosthetic leg
Amount: $3,000.00
Posted by: Juan Ortga in El Paso, TX.Posted: May 13th, 2014 12:05PM
I need the prosthetic leg is to patien my father, he have diabets y he have 85 year old. He need one prosthetic leg.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.bcbsnc.com/assets/services/public/pdfs/medicalpolicy/microprocessor_controlled_pros...
  2.  www.nist.gov/tip/wp/pswp/upload/239_limb_prosthetics_services_devices.pdf
  3.  biomed.brown.edu/Courses/BI108/2006-108websites/group07HighTechProsthetics/pages/cleg.htm
  4.  www.rehab.research.va.gov/jour/10/474/Blough.html
  5.  www.amputee-coalition.org/military-instep/knees.html
  6.  limbspecialists.azamputee.com/new-amputee.html
  7.  www.amputee-coalition.org/military-instep/reclaiming-independence.html
  8.  www.amputee-coalition.org/fact_sheets/assist_orgs.html
  9.  www.oandpcare.org/Search
  10.  www.abcop.org/certification/OrthotistsProsthetists/Pages/Default.aspx
  11.  www.bocusa.org/becoming-certified
  12.  www.amputee-coalition.org/first_step_2003/choosing-a-prosthetist.html
  13.  emedicine.medscape.com/article/317358-overview
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