How Much Does ACL Surgery Cost in the US?

The arthroscopic knee surgery can be an option for treatment for specific types of knee pain. The arthroscopic surgery is a process whereby a small camera is inserted inside the joint. By use of other small incisions, there is insertion of instruments to help in repairing or removal of damaged structures. The Arthroscopic knee surgery is usually referred to as knee arthroscopy or “scoping the knee”.

Medical costs are very complex to understand even for medical professionals and doctors. The costs for a similar service can differ dramatically based on the location, individuals, etc. Not every surgery is charged the same rate; also, the difference from one location to another can be astonishing.

A study was carried out recently investigating the charges of the two most common knee surgeries. These surgical procedures are such as an ACL reconstruction and a knee arthroscopy. The charges are inclusive of both the surgical fees and fee of the hospital that covers expenses for anesthesia services, operating room, and supplies.

The charges are as follows;

ACL Surgery for $10,326

Knee Arthroscopy for $5,783

This is obviously the charges in the United States; in case you’re reading while in other countries, you can look for the local costs that are dramatically different.  In addition, this cost is based on the 2009 dollars. Interestingly, the research discovered that both of these surgical processes were cost-effective after being measured by improvements in quality of life.

Cost effectiveness of  the ACL surgery in the United States


The reason to carry out this study was to establish the cost-effectiveness of knee arthroscopy and reconstruction of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).


The retrospective analysis of prospectively composed data from one surgeon, institutional review board approved outcomes registry included two cohorts that are; ACL reconstruction patients and surgically treated knee arthroscopy. The outcome measure of the research is cost effectiveness (cost of a quality-adjusted life-year [QALY]). The calculation of QALY is by multiplying the difference in health related quality of life, after and before the treatment, by life expectancy. Health related quality of life could be measured by using the Well-Being quality scale, validated for cost-effectiveness analysis because costs are facility charges per the facility cost to charges ratio adding the fee of the surgeon. Analysis on sensitivity is carried out to establish the effect of variations in outcomes or costs.


The study shows that 93-knee arthroscopy was carried out and there were 35 patients of ACL reconstruction that included at a mean follow-up of 2.1 years. The charges per QALY were $5,783 for arthroscopy and $10,326 for ACL reconstruction –based on the 2009 US dollars. The analysis on sensitivity demonstrate that the results of the findings are robust i.e. relatively insensitive to variations in outcomes or costs.


The charges on knee ACL reconstruction and knee arthroscopy are very cost-effective.

Level of Evidence

Level I, analyzing the economic costs that are sensible having the multiway sensitivity analyses. More article here

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