Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Cost of Liver Transplants ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Cost of Liver Transplants
Category: Health
Asked by: sogoam-ga
List Price: $40.00
Posted: 31 Oct 2003 10:28 PST
Expires: 30 Nov 2003 10:28 PST
Question ID: 271467
What does it cost to get a liver transplant in the US? What does it
cost for the organ? How much and how long is the average hospital
stay? How much does the physician who transplants the liver get? Are
the costs comparable outside the US?
Subject: Re: Cost of Liver Transplants
Answered By: missy-ga on 31 Oct 2003 20:06 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
According to the American Liver Foundation, the immediate transplant
costs (those associated with the surgery itself) average around
$250,000 for hospital and physician expenses.  Pre-operative and
post-operative care pushes the average total cost to about $314,000. 
(Other sources place this figure at closer to $500,000).  The costs
associated with the surgery vary widely, depending upon a number of
factors, including the patient's age, overall health, and region of
the country, and transplant center:

"The fact is, expenses vary according to center, location, your
medical condition, insurance status and financial situation."

How much will this cost?

"The cost of a liver transplant currently averages about $250,000 for
immediate hospital and doctor expenses. Necessary pre- and
post-operative expenses bring the total to about $314,000 and in some
especially complicated cases much more. Follow-up care in the years
after a transplant is an additional cause for concern. Even patients
whose transplants are covered by insurance find that they must raise a
substantial part of the costs themselves."

ALF Transplant Fund Program

"The costs of any surgery varies significantly between surgeons,
medical facilities, and regions of the country. Patients who are
younger, sicker, or need more extensive surgery will require more
intensive and expensive treatment.

The cost for a liver transplant surgery starts at about $500,000."

Liver transplant

ENLMedical separates transplant costs into five parts:

"Surgery charges can be separated into five parts: 1) the surgeon's
fee, 2) the anesthesiologist's fee, 3) the hospital charges, which
includes nursing care and the operating room, 4) the medications, and
5) additional charges.

1. Surgeon's fee: variable
2. Anesthesiologist's fee: averages $350 to $400 per hour
3. Hospital charges: basic rate averages $1,500 to $1,800 per day
(more for the intensive care unit (ICU) or private rooms)
4. Medication charges: $200 to $400
5. Additional charges: assisting surgeon, treatment of complications,
diagnostic procedures (such as blood or X-ray exams), medical
supplies, or equipment use."

Liver transplant

Anti-rejection medications, which the patient will require for the
rest of his life, are not included in this figure.  Such expenses can
reach more than $21,000 annually:

"According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), estimated
charges for liver transplantation are:

Estimated First-Year Charge (1996 dollars): $314,600
Estimated Annual Follow-up Charge (1996 dollars): $21,900

Following your transplant, you will need several drugs, called
immunosuppresives, to sustain your transplanted liver. The
immunosuppressive medications may include Neoral, Cellcept, Prograf
and Prednisone. The following are estimates and depend on the dosage
and pharmacy used. Note that most health plans pay a percentage of
medication costs, as described in the next section.
# Neoral or Prograf: Total monthly cost is approximately $1,200
# Cellcept: Total monthly cost is approximately $800 (required for
first three months only)
# Prograf: Total monthly cost is approximately $1,077
# Prednisone: Total monthly cost is approximately $12
# Acyclovir or or Cytovene: Total monthly cost is $100-$1,500
(required for first two to three months only)
# Nystatin: Total monthly cost is approximately $200 (required for
first three months only)
# Prilosec: Total monthly cost is approximately $300 (required for
first three months only)"

Transplantation costs

The National Transplant Assistance Fund provides the following
breakdown for charges billed in the first year after a liver

Evaluation:  $16,100
Candidacy (per month): $9,600
Organ Procurement:  $26,900
Hospital:  $121,600
Physician:  $32,500
Follow-up:  $48,400
Immunosuppressants:  $12,800
TOTAL:               $267,900

Average Estimated Charges Billed During First Year Following

NOTE:  Under the National Organ Transplant Act, it is illegal to buy
or sell human organs.  Procurement costs cover ONLY the surgery
necessary to remove the organ from the donor and the costs associated
with transporting it to the receipient.  There is no charge for the
organ itself.

Nationl Organ Transplant Act (Summary)|TOM:/bss/d098query.html

As with any surgery, recovery times vary from patient to patient,
based largely on the patient's age, how sick they were prior to
surgery, and how complicated the surgery ended up being.  Tufts-New
England Medical Center puts the average hospital stay for liver
transplantation at about three weeks:

"The length of hospital stay after surgery largely depends on a
recipient's condition prior to transplant, but is typically three
weeks. Individual patients' circumstances differ after liver
transplantation, so during their final few days in the hospital,
Tufts-NEMC's transplantation team devises a customized outpatient
program for each patient. While some patients are asked to stay in the
Boston area for a short time after discharge, most return directly to
their homes."
Liver Transplantation

A study published in the Southern Medical Journal puts the median
hospital stay for transplant receipients between 10 and 20 days:

"Comparing the first 100 liver transplants to the last 100, patient
demographics did not change significantly; however, mean waiting times
increased significantly, from 30.4 days to 146.7 days, and median
hospital stay decreased from 20.2 days to 10.9 days."

Liver Transplantation in the Era of Cost Constraints

Costs in other nations vary.  According to the King Fahad Hospital
Programs website, a liver transplant at King Fahad Hospital is about
$79,995 (300,000 Saudi Riyals):

"A Liver transplant to one Saudi patient in the United States or
Europe costs 3 to 5 million SR, while it costs less than SR 300,000 at
KFH. Furthermore, this program serves as a center for liver disease
referrals for patients referred from all other Hospitals in the
Kingdom. Liver transplant cases success percentages counted to 80%."

King Fahad Hospital Programs

However, KFH also estimates that a liver transplant performed in the
US costs 3 - 5 million Saudi Riyals ( $799,957 - $1,333,262 ).  Data
from US sources does not support this, so whether the actual cost in
Saudi Arabia is correctly listed is unknown.

Figures for other countries are rather difficult to come by, but I did
find figures for the following countries:

Germany:  $296,038

Cost Utility Analysis of Liver and Kidney Transplantation in Germany

Great Britain:  $77,956

GGNSHB / Addictions Team / Key Facts: Hepatitis C

South Africa:  $300,000


Singapore:  $80,000 to $100,000

First Time I Saw A Green Baby

[ NOTE:  Conversions done with XE Universal Currency Converter: ]

I hope this information is helpful to you.  If you need further
assistance, please just ask for clarification.  I'll be happy to clear
up anything that might seem confusing.


Search terms:  [ "liver transplant" costs ], [ "liver transplant"
"surgeon's fees" ], [ "liver transplant" procurement ], [ "costs of
transplants" ]
sogoam-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Good information and it will certainly help!

There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy