Compared with the 2007 report, the mean cost for hospital stays involving surgery rose 19.4%, from $13,900 to $16,600.
The report is often used to highlight areas for potential savings in healthcare costs. Regional variation in frequency of these surgeries provides strong evidence that surgeons in some parts of the country perform many procedures that are medically unnecessary. The financial data in the report does not include what physicians and surgeons were paid separately for their inpatient services.
As has long been the case, Cesarean sections were the most common surgical procedure, with more than 1.27 million performed in 2011, or nearly one in three of all births in a year, and accounted for 8.1% of all operating room procedures. The cost per patient was $5,900.
Numerous other studies have suggested that as many as half may be unnecessary, with numerous campaigns to curtail the practice underway in U.S. hospitals, especially before 39 weeks of gestation. C-sections have a higher death rate than natural childbirth, and impose a higher risk of infection.
The next most common procedures were circumcision, knee arthroplasty, and percutaneous coronary angioplasty.
In 2011, a study by the American College of Cardiology suggested that as many as 12% percutaneous coronary procedures were medically unnecessary, and the medical necessity for another 30% was unclear.