Why Is Surgery Expensive?


Surgery is expensive and it doesn’t matter which country you have your procedures. While some procedures are less expensive than others and some cost higher. There are many costs associated with surgery that patients are aware of, however here are additional charges that are not so obvious.

In medical tourism cosmetic surgery and weight loss surgery may be offered at a flat all-inclusive rate, but that is the exception rather than the rule and it is also depending on the medical providers (medical centres and surgeons). It is advisable to understand what is included in flat rate surgery since it may not include testing and a recovery that is not typical, such as a longer hospital stay.

Breakdown on Costs of Surgery

Physician Fees For Surgery

The vast majority of surgeries require at least two physicians, and in some cases, more. There is always at least one surgeon performing the procedure, and an anaesthetic doctor. For more involved surgeries, several surgeons may work together to perform the surgery. Each surgeon involved in the procedure will usually submit a bill for their services.

Additional Staff in the OT (operating theatre) During Surgery

In addition to the physicians participating in the surgery, there are at least two additional staff members in the operating room during the procedure. A circulating nurse is present, charting everything that happens during the procedure and doing the things that the “scrubbed in” staff cannot.
A surgical technologist or OT nurse responsible for handing the surgeon the sterile instruments used during the procedure. The fee for this staff may be included in the operating room fee.

The Operating Theatre (operating room)

An operating room is billed in 15 minute increments in most facilities. The fees include the sterilisation and use of instruments, the anaesthesia machinery, the cleaning of the room after the procedure, and other items that are used during the surgery.

Surgical Implants

If your surgery requires an implant, such as silicone breast implants etc. there will be a fee for the implant. The price of implants varies widely, but the fact that they have to be sterile, made to perform for a lifetime and require extensive research and testing usually makes them quite costly.


The medications used during surgery are an additional expense during surgery. The medications given range from IV fluids and anaesthesia medications to any special drugs that are necessary during the procedure, such as an antibiotic.

Recovery Room

The recovery room, often referred to as the Post Anaesthesia Care Unit, is where patients are taken after surgery to be monitored while the anaesthesia wears off completely. There may be an individual charge for the time spent in recovery, along with any medications given.

Pre-Surgery Testing and Care

Your road to surgery will begin with a consultation with your surgeon, which will result in a fee. Any additional visits with your surgeon, both before and after surgery, may also result in fees.

Your surgeon may order testing to make sure you are healthy enough to tolerate the stresses of surgery. These tests may range from blood tests and chest x-rays to stress tests, imaging tests (CT, MRI, Ultrasound, PET scans) and any additional tests that the surgeon deems necessary. These tests can range from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars each and can add substantially to the cost of surgery.

The day of your surgery may also result in additional fees for pre-operative procedures (such as inserting an IV) and standard blood work.

Hospital Care

If the recovery from surgery is done on an inpatient basis, there will be a substantial fee for the hospital room and the nursing care that accompanies it. At this time, additional tests, medications or care may be required, all of which will increase the cost of the procedure.

Consultation by Physicians

When the surgeons and any other physicians who are participating in your care check in on you each day during your recovery, an additional fee is often generated. This is how the doctors are paid for their time and expertise when you are being cared for in the hospital.

Miscellaneous Additions

Support garments are necessary to position implants in breast augmentation surgery and compression garments are necessary to support incisions especially after major surgery to the body such as after tummy tuck procedure. These garments are normally pre-approved by the attending surgeons and prepaid by the patients

When looking for cosmetic surgery quotation and making comparison, we advise that you find out from the service providers what is and what are NOT included in the package to avoid any surprises.

Published by Sister Kay McNaught

Sister Kay McNaught a professional Medical Tourism Facilitator based in Malaysia.

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