Cost of fibroid surgery in Nigeria?From experience as a medical student and a practicing doctor in Nigeria, I have come to realize that most Nigerian women diagnosed of uterine fibroids and counselled for surgery are not bothered much about the complications and outcome of the operation rather their source of worry is the cost of the surgery. You hear them ask questions like: “doctor, how much is this surgery?”; “doctor, what is the cost of the fibroid operation?”; “doctor, how much am I going to pay to remove my fibroids?”; others will say, doctor what is the price of fibroid operation?
Now, most times, the doctor do not usually have a definitive answer for her/his patients and they choose an easy way out by dodging the question outrightly or shifting the responsibility of disclosing the cost of treatment to others. You hear statements like: “madam, find out from Revenue department”; “madam, ask the nurses”; but others will tell you the cost of fibroid operation depends on certain factors too, numerous to explain because of time.
Now if I may ask, what is the cost of fibroid surgery in Nigeria? How much is fibroid operation in Nigeria? How is fibroid operation cost in Nigeria arrived at? The headers below will provide answers to your (our) questions.
1.the cost of fibroid surgery is determined by your choice
What is your choice of operation for fibroid removal? Normally you will be counselled by your doctor on the operation techniques available and told to choose one. We have the open or abdominal myomectomy(medical word for surgical removal of fibroid) and the laparoscopic myomectomy.
The open myomectomy involves making a large incision on your lower abdomen in order to gain access to the fibroid mass. Its highpoints are: almost all the masses are removed, less tasky with less expertise on the side of the surgeon, and above all, less expensive. In Lagos for example, the Lagos University Teaching Hospital charges between N135,000- N145,000 for abdominal myomectomy while the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital collects between N150,000-N160,000 for open fibroid surgery. The University of Benin Teaching Hospital pricelist for abdominal fibroid surgery is around N130,000-N140,000.
Private hospitals in Nigeria do bill around #200,000-#400,0000 for fibroid surgery (it may less depending on the hospital)
Laparoscopic surgery for fibroid removal is more tasky, requires more expertise and far more expensive. Minimal cuts are made in laparoscopic myomectomy, it is almost bloodless and heals faster. Many centres across Nigeria either do not have the expertise or the facilities for the procedure, few centres perform the surgery. In UBTH, laparoscopic myomectomy costs between N180,000-N200,000 while many private hospitals in Lagos especially Cedarcrest Hospital and Southern Shore Women clinics do laparoscopic myomectomy for around #300,000-#400,000. Just weigh your options and make a choice.
2. Are you having your fibroid operation done in a private or public hospital?
Nigeria fibroid surgery cost is also determined by where you are doing it. While the cost of fibroid surgery is highly subsidized and therefore “cheap” in public hospitals(state owned hospitals, teaching hospitals and federal medical centres), it is usually very expensive in private hospitals or clinics. I know of some private practitioners in Nigeria that charge as much as 3million naira for fibroid surgery.
Location matters too. Fibroid surgery in private hospitals in Lagos or Abuja will definitely be more expensive than private hospitals in Ekiti, Ebonyi, Nassarawa, Kogi, or Jigawa(I mean no disrespect to these states).
3. Tests adds to the cost of fibroid surgery in Nigeria.
Usually, diagnosis of uterine fibroids is from history taking and physical examination. As doctors are not magicians, you will be requested to carry out some confirmatory tests like: abdominal scan to visualise the fibroid masses and their locations in the uterus, hysteroscopy to visualize your womb directly and take tissue sample. Other tests include complete blood count and packed cell volume to know your blood and make sure it is adequate for the surgery.
The last time I checked abdominal scan for fibroids was around #3,000-#4000, diagnostic hysteroscopy was around #5,000-#10,000, and complete blood count was around #3,000-#5,000. Please note that most doctors will request only scan as a confirmatory test.
The money for tests is not part of the cost of the surgery proper. Let me say it is extra cost leading to the myomectomy. This extra cost for tests is around #20,000.
4. other ancillaries that affect cost of fibroid surgery in Nigeria
Some hospitals especially in Lagos will request that you pay for admission, drugs, and other consumables different from the cost of the operation itself. Because of the bleeding associated with the surgery and with most other surgeries, most centres will request you pay for 2-3 pints of blood in case you might need transfusion in the theatre. A pint of blood is between #6,000-#8,000.
The good news is the money will be refunded if eventually you were not transfused. Paying for blood is just a precautionary measure on the side of the hospital or gynaecologist.
5. Free/low cost fibroid surgery in Lagos
Irene Fibroid Foundation, a non-governmental organisation based in Lagos do offer free fibroid surgery for women all year round. In December 2016, they in partnership with Rotary club, provided free fibroid surgery to a 100 Lagosians. You can click above to learn more about them and know which time of the year they roll out their humanitarian programmes.
My analysis above on the cost of fibroid surgery in Nigeria should not deter you or push you to patronize quacks. It is even more expensive abroad. Surgery is the best and the definitive treatment for fibroids. Uterine fibroids found to be the cause of infertility must be removed.
This article is just an insight into the fibroid world in Nigeria. The cost of fibroid operation in some centres may be lower as projected here. Endeavour to discuss your worries concerning cost with your doctor. She/he is human and know what to do to help you minimize cost. Reducing cost burden on patients is part of our training.
Read more on fibroid surgery on WebMD