There are a few types of surgeries that can be used to combat symptoms of essential tremor. Depending on which type of surgery is used, severity of condition, and insurance coverage is held will influence the cost. No surgery is cheap, so the patient can expect some hefty medical bills.
The symptoms of essential tremor that are being felt and the other conditions the patient has will determine the type of surgery. Some common options include deep brain stimulation, ultrasound treatment and non-invasive laser treatment. Deep Brain Stimulation has been around the longest, and works best with limb tremors. During the procedure, electrodes are implanted in the ventral intermediate nucleus of the thalamus, an area of the brain that is thought to be responsible for causing tremors. The electrodes are then connected and a pulse generator is placed near the collarbone. This therapy can be adjusted and reversible, so it is highly favored for treating essential tremor, since the condition does progress and change with age.
Gamma Knife surgery is a procedure that uses laser treatment to target specific areas in the brain that are being affected by essential tremor. There are many different insurance policies that will cover gamma knife surgery. It was found that when comparing open surgery and gamma knife surgery, that gamma knife surgery cost about 40 percent to 50 percent as much as the normal surgery types did. The gamma knife surgery cost about $55,000-$80,000, so normal surgery types would be about well over $100,000.
Medicare has set the institutional payment for focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor at around $10,000. After two years the payment level will be adjusted depending on how the payment levels have changed. This is just medicare. Other plans will vary depending on your location, the severity of your condition, your medical provider and many other factors.
Doctors generally recommend medication and other remedies before surgery because of cost factors. Though surgery may be a great option of treatment for some, there is no guarantee that surgery will cure symptoms enough to justify the costs of surgery. By consulting many essential tremor and medical professionals, you will be able to diagnose what your best treatment options are. It may be surgery, but it very well could be a more cost effective option that is less invasive and has less down time afterwards.
When considering surgery, it is also important to consider recovery costs and the loss of normal salary when in recovery. These costs can also greatly influence the cost of the surgery. There are different surgeries that can be considered with costs in mind to make sure that the patient is comfortable with the price point and recovery time. Insurance types can be researched to make sure that the insurance provider covers this type of treatment and can provide financial support so the costs do not end up being all out of pocket. Make sure to be honest with your care provider and share all of your concerns so that you know exactly what you are getting yourself into when going in for essential tremor surgeries.