Choosing Conservative Treatment Before Surgery
The cost of surgery, therapy, or other healthcare treatment varies from location to location. However, one thing remains fairly consistent: surgery tends to cost more than conservative treatment options. But, cost alone is never a good reason to select one treatment option over the other. You want to select a treatment option that is both effective and supported by research. Otherwise, you make decisions based on your bank account balance, and not what’s the best for you and your situation.
Cost and Benefits of Surgery & Therapy
To that end, it helps to understand what the research says about selecting conservative treatments vs surgery for muscle or joint pain. The research suggests that conservative treatments, like physical or occupational therapy, should be the first line treatment option for muscle or joint pain .
Not only do these treatment options provide similar results to surgery, they also cost a lot less!
Before considering more invasive procedures like surgery or injections to address pain, research suggests trying conservative treatments like physical and occupational therapy. Research shows that these non-invasive treatment options often deliver similar outcomes to surgery but at a lower cost. Use the calculator below to enter your own insurance information to see how much physical or occupational therapy could save you in out of pocket expenses .
We actually published an article on this topic. Here’s the list for that article:
- Low Cost
- Low Risk
- High Benefit
- Possibility of avoiding surgery
Check out the recent video we did on this subject below:
Comparing the Costs of Surgery and Therapy
And if want to explore the cost-benefit of surgery vs therapy, run the numbers. Below, we’ve developed a simple calculator that gives an estimate for both the cost of surgery, the cost of therapy, and the difference between the two. Now, this should in no way replace checking with both a licensed medical provider and your own insurance company. But, it’s a good starting point.
Cost Calculator: Surgery vs. Therapy
Before considering more invasive procedures like surgery or injections to address pain, research suggests trying conservative treatments like physical and occupational therapy. Research shows that these non-invasive treatment options often deliver similar outcomes to surgery but at a lower cost. Use the calculator below to enter your own insurance information to see how much physical or occupational therapy could save you in out of pocket expenses.
The numbers used to calculate costs are based on national averages for major surgery (around $20,000-$50,000) and minor surgery (around $5,000-$10,000). For this calculator, we chose to use the averages on the lower end of the scale.
If the number at the end is positive, it means that conservative treatment (like therapy) may save you the amount shown when compared to surgery costs. If the number is negative, it means that therapy would cost you the amount shown when compared to surgery.
If you have any specific questions about your results, or if you want to learn more, simply enter your information and hit the “send more info” button, and one of our team members will reach out to discuss your specific situation.
Ultimately, the decision to choose surgery or conservative treatment shouldn’t be left to a calculator. You need to speak with a qualified healthcare specialist about your own circumstances and situation. What we do know from the research is that conservative treatment options, like physical or occupational therapy, should be considered the first line treatment option for musculoskeletal pain. If you re in the Augusta area and would like to learn how ProActive Rehabilitation & Wellness can help you overcome pain and chart your path towards long-term healing, click here.
 Benefits and Harms of Interventions With Surgery Compared to Interventions Without Surgery for Musculoskeletal Conditions: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis. Søren T. Skou, Erik Poulsen, Alessio Bricca, Mette Dideriksen, L. Stefan Lohmander, Ewa M. Roos, and Carsten B. Juhl. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 2022 52:6, 312-344. https://www.jospt.org/doi/abs/10.2519/jospt.2022.11075