As you can probably guess, hospital stays that involved an operating room (OR) procedure are more expensive than as those that didn’t. But do you know how much more? 

Answer: 2.5 times more costly.

According to a statistical brief from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), approximately 15 million U.S. hospital stays each year involve OR procedures.

In 2011, alone, hospitalizations that involved OR procedures represented  29% of the 38.6 million U.S. hospital stays. But when it comes to costs, hospitals with OR procedures represent 48% of the total $387 billion in hospital costs.

Part of AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, the brief also found the average hospital stay with an OR procedure costs $3,300 a day and averages about five days. Whereas a hospital stay with no OR procedure costs an average of $1,700 per day and lasts about 4.4 days.

Individual facilities

Do you know how much hospitals stays that involve an OR procedure cost your facility?

It’s important to know because identifying volume, characteristics and costs of OR procedures overall can help researchers and policy makers better understand the health of different populations and spur improvements in healthcare practices.

Personally, it can help hospital execs, administrators and providers offer better patient care by running a facility that is as seamless as possible when it comes to patient care. And help reduce costs to OR procedures and hospital stays.

It also allows facilities to see how they compare to other similar hospitals.

10 most frequent OR procedures

While comparing your facility to your peers helps you compete in your community for patients, seeing where you fall in the grand scheme of things is beneficial too, not to mention interesting.

Here are the 10 most frequent OR procedures performed in U. S. hospitals in 2011:

  1. Cesarean section — 1,272,000
  2. Circumcision — 1,108,000
  3. Arthroplasty of knee — 728,000
  4. Percutaneous coronary angioplasty (PTCA) — 560,000
  5. Laminectomy, excision intervertebral disc — 525,000
  6. Spinal fusion — 488,000
  7. Hip replacement, total and partial — 467,000
  8. Cholecystectomy and common duct exploration — 449,000
  9. Hysterectomy, abdominal and vaginal — 389,000
  10. Colorectal resection — 333,000

 10 most costly OR procedures

AHRQ’s statistical brief, also uncovered the top 20 most costly OR procedures. These 20 procedures alone encompassed 57.5% of all costs associated with stays involving OR procedures.

Here are the top 10 OR procedure with the highest aggregate hospital costs for the entire hospital stay during which each procedure was listed first on the discharge record:

  1. Spinal fusion — $12,837,000
  2. Arthroplasty of knee — $11,317,000
  3. Percutaneous coronary angioplasty (PTCA) — $9,730,000
  4. Hip replacement, total and partial — $7,962,000
  5. Cesarean section — $7,481,000
  6. Colorectal resection – $6,747,000
  7. Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) — $6,411,000
  8. Heart valve procedures — $6,070,000
  9. Cholecystectomy and common duct exploration — $5,048,000
  10. Treatment, fracture or dislocation of hip and femur –$4,275,000

And here are the most costly OR procedures with the highest mean cost per hospital stay:

  1. Heart valve procedure — $53,400
  2. CABG — $38,700
  3. Small bowel resection — $34,500
  4. Procedures related to cardiac pacemaker or cardioverter/defibrillator — $33,200
  5. Spinal fusion — $27,600
  6. Colorectal resection — $23,400
  7. Lobectomy or pneumonectomy — $23,000
  8. Amputation of lower extremity — $21,200
  9. Debridement of wound, infection or burn — $20,700
  10. PTCA — $18,800
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