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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Cancer Treatments > Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Stereotactic Radiosurgery Cost


How Much Does Stereotactic Radiosurgery Cost?

 
average costWith Insurance: Coinsurance and Copayshigh costWithout Insurance: Usually Runs $12,000-$55,0000

Stereotactic radiosurgery uses guided radiation to treat tumors, other growths in the body, or vascular malformations in the brain, with minimal effect on healthy tissue. The Mayo Clinic offers a list of conditions that can be treated with stereotactic radiosurgery. When used for cancer, it often is used for patient who have not had success with, or are not good candidates for, treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, or whose tumors have been deemed inoperable.

Typical costs:

  • For patients not covered by health insurance, stereotactic radiosurgery usually costs between $12,000 and $55,000, including initial consultations, the drawing up of the treatment plan and between one and five treatments. The cost depends on the type of stereotactic radiosurgery, and the type and severity of the condition being treated. For example, the MidMichigan Health offers a package for self-pay patients for $24,063, including MRIs, radiology interpretation, the one treatment required and follow-up visits.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery is covered by most health insurance plans. However, depending on the condition being treated and the type of stereotactic radiosurgery, some insurance companies might deny the procedure on the grounds that it is experimental. At CyberKnifeSupport.org[1] , patients discuss insurance denials and how to appeal.
  • For patients covered by insurance, typical out-of-pocket costs would consist of a copay, which can be as little as $100 or coinsurance of 20 percent or more, which could reach as high as $10,000 or the out-of-pocket maximum, depending on the total cost of treatment.
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What should be included:
  • In stereotactic radiosurgery, the radiation oncologist uses 3-D computer images of the brain or other body part to target multiple beams of high doses of radiation directly into the tumor or malformation, without delivering much radiation to surrounding tissue. The procedure, which does not require a scalpel or anesthesia, usually lasts between one and four hours -- though in some cases, with some types of treatments, more than one session is required. The procedure usually is done on an outpatient basis, and recovery takes only about a day.
  • The effects of the procedure can take months to years to be complete; in the case of tumors, for example, the procedure does not remove the growth but changes the DNA of the cells so they cannot continue to reproduce. And in the case of vascular malformations such as AVMs, an abnormal collection of blood vessels, the procedure causes the vessels to close off over time.
  • The IRSA[2] , an association dedicated to providing educational information on stereotactic radiosurgery, has an overview of the procedure.
Shopping for stereotactic radiosurgery:
  • Traditional surgery, radiation and chemotherapy usually are the first treatments prescribed to cancer patients; so, some patients who want to see if they are candidates for stereotactic radiosurgery instead might have to assertively pursue a referral to, or set up an appointment with, a radiation oncologist who is familiar with the procedure. Elekta.com[3] offers a locator for Gamma Knife Centers and Accuray.com[4] offers a locator for CyberKnife centers.
  • Common complications include pain or swelling near the targeted area. Rarely, patients might experience skin irritation, nausea, seizures, or blindness or deafness, depending on what condition was treated. There also is a very small possibility that a new tumor could develop as a result of the radiation.
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.cyberknifesupport.org/forum/default.aspx?f=16&m=19808
  2.  www.irsa.org/radiosurgery.html
  3.  www.elekta.com/patients/treatment-information/treatment-centers/leksell-gamma-knif...
  4.  www.accuray.com/treatment-centers
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