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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > General Surgery & Neurosurgery > Scoliosis Treatment

Scoliosis Treatment Cost


How Much Does Scoliosis Treatment Cost?

 
average costWith Health Insurance: Copays + 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $1,000-$150,000+
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Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that can be asymptomatic or, in severe cases, can displace organs and/or cause neurological symptoms. Treatment depends on the severity of the scoliosis, how quickly it is progressing, and, in children or adolescents, how much more growing the patient has left to do.

Typical costs:

  • For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of doctor visit copays, durable medical equipment copays and copays or coinsurance of 10%-50% for surgery. Scoliosis treatment typically is covered by health insurance, with some restrictions. For example, Aetna[1] considers surgery medically necessary only in severe cases where certain other criteria are met, and it considers some types of braces experimental. On a forum at Scoliosis.org[2] , patients discuss insurance coverage of braces.
  • For patients not covered by health insurance, treatment for scoliosis typically costs $1,000 or more per year, including periodic X-Rays and doctor visits, for watching and waiting. It typically costs about $2,000-$6,000 for initial bracing plus at least $1,000 a year for follow-up X-rays and doctor visits. And it typically costs about $100,000-$150,000 or more for surgery. For example, Baptist Memorial Health Care in Tennessee, charges about $180-$210, not including doctor fee, for an X-Ray scoliosis study, and Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center[3] in Nebraska charges about $260-$380. This is typically required at least every six months to monitor the progress of the scoliosis and/or to see if treatment is working. According to Medscape.com[4] , braces cost an average of $2,000-$2,300. However, patients and their parents at Scoliosis.org[5] report total costs of up to $4,500-$6,000 for a brace, including fittings and adjustments.
  • According to a study of hospital charges to more than 76,000 patients, published in the medical journal Spine[6] , the average costs to the patient for scoliosis surgery were about $113,000.
Related articles: Physical Therapy, Cane, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • In cases of mild scoliosis in children or adolescents -- usually a curve of less than 20-30 degrees -- a doctor might recommend watching and waiting. This typically involves a doctor visit and X-rays at least every six months. If the curve progresses more than five degrees, a doctor might recommend further treatment.
  • In children or adolescents who are still growing, a doctor might recommend a custom-made scoliosis brace to reduce or halt progression of the scoliosis and avoid surgery. Depending on the degree of curvature, the type of curve and where on the spine the curve is located, the doctor might prescribe a Boston brace[7] , a Charleston Bending Brace[8] , a Milwaukee brace or other type of brace. Spine-Health.com offers information on types of braces[9] as well as an overview of bracing[10] .
  • In severe cases -- typically curves of 40-50 degrees -- in adolescents or adults, spinal fusion surgery might be required to straighten the spine and prevent or treat displacement of organs, pain or neurological symptoms. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons[11] has information about surgery for scoliosis.
  • The National Institutes of Health offers information on scoliosis and treatment[12] .
Additional costs:
  • After surgery, some patients require a cane, which typically costs about $15-$80, or a walker, which can cost $200 or more. And some patients require a back brace or a corset, which can cost up to $200 or more.
  • After surgery, some patients, especially adults, require a few sessions of physical therapy, which typically costs $50-$350 per session.
Discounts:
  • Shriners Hospitals for Children[13] offer free treatment for scoliosis for patients up to 18 based solely on need for services, not on family income. Parents must apply[14] for care for their child.
  • Many hospitals and imaging centers give discounts of up to 30% or more to uninsured/cash-paying patients. For example, Washington Hospital Healthcare System[15] in California offers a 35% discount.
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.  www.aetna.com/cpb/medical/data/300_399/0398.html
  2.  www.scoliosis.org/forum/archive/index.php/t-10653.html
  3.  www.saintelizabethonline.com/price-estimator-1.html
  4.  emedicine.medscape.com/article/314921-overview#a30
  5.  www.scoliosis.org/forum/archive/index.php/t-10653.html
  6.  journals.lww.com/spinejournal/Abstract/2010/05150/Geographic_and_Demographic_Variabilit...
  7.  www.bostonbrace.com/
  8.  www.cbb.org/
  9.  www.spine-health.com/conditions/scoliosis/types-scoliosis-braces
  10.  www.spine-health.com/conditions/scoliosis/bracing-treatment-idiopathic-scoliosis
  11.  orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00641
  12.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002221/
  13.  www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/CareAndTreatment/Orthopaedics/Scoliosis.aspx
  14.  www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/CareAndTreatment/ApplyForCare.aspx
  15.  www.whhs.com/about/washington-hospital-discount-policy-for-uninsured/
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