“Doctor, what is the estimate of the cost of appendix surgery in Nigeria?” This is a recurring question on the lips of every patient diagnosed of appendicitis.
Appendicitis is the inflammation of a finger-like projection of the large intestine called the appendix. Scientists are not quite certain of the function of appendix but humans can live without it. Inflammation of the appendix is a medical emergency that require prompt surgery (not antibiotics). If an inflamed appendix is not treated on time, it may rupture or burst spilling poisonous content into the abdominal cavity and the blood stream and leading to peritonitis and sepsis (blood poisoning). A burst or perforated appendix can kill.
Appendix surgery called appendectomy is the most performed surgery in many hospitals in Nigeria. But how much is appendix surgery in Nigeria? In the headers below we are going to discuss how the cost of appendectomy is arrived at in many Nigerian hospitals and even in other climes.
1.Is the appendicitis complicated?
A burst, about to burst, or a gangrenous appendix is a complicated one and require an emergency surgery called laporatomy to evacuate the spilled contents, wash the abdominal cavity, and remove the remnant of the inflamed appendix. It requires more hands, expertise and a longer hospital stay. Usually, stronger and more expensive antibiotics and painkillers will be needed. Surgery on complicated appendicitis in Nigeria or anywhere in the world is quite expensive. In Lagos, Nigeria for example, the cost of an emergency appendix operation in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital is between N150,000-N170,000 naira while some private hospitals bill between #200,000-#250,000 naira or more. In University of Benin Teaching Hospital, emergency appendectomy is around #150,000-#170,000 naira. Same is the price in federal medical centres and state hospitals across the country.
2. Is it an elective appendectomy?
An elective surgery is an operation at the patient’s or doctor’s convenience. It is a planned non-emergency procedure. It often times done for uncomplicated appendicitis. Elective appendectomy in quite cheaper and cost effective than emergency appendectomy. In most hospitals in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt for example appendicectomy on uncomplicated appendicitis is around #100,000- #120,000 naira. Some hospitals may collect as “low” as #70,000 in some cases. The amount of money you will pay for appendectomy will therefore be less if you decide to do the surgery as soon as you are diagnosed.
3.Your choice of surgery and hospital affects the cost of appendix surgery in Nigeria
Two types of appendectomy are available in Nigeria- Laparoscopic and open appendix surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive and bloodless surgery with short hospital stay and recovery time. Though it cannot be used for ruptured appendicitis, it is more expensive than open surgery. Laparoscopic appendectomy is around #250,000- #350,000 naira.
Your choice of hospital also determines the cost of surgery. Appendectomy done in private hospitals will always be more expensive than public or government owned centres.
4. Tests adds to the cost of appendix surgery in Nigeria
Though the diagnosis of appendicitis is mainly from history taking and physical evaluation, your doctor may request you do further tests like abdominal scan( #5,500 naira), complete blood count(#3,500 naira), blood grouping and cross-matching (#2,500 naira) and sometimes blood culture. These tests are used by your doctor to confirm her/his diagnosis, and ensure your blood volume is optimal for the surgery. It also makes provision for transfusion during the appendix operation. The cost of these tests are included in the original price quoted for appendectomy in most federal and states hospitals but private hospitals will tell you to pay for these investigations separate from the money you will pay for the surgery.
5. Other ancillaries that affect cost of appendix surgery in Nigeria
Some hospitals especially in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kaduna, Ibadan, and Benin-city 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 1-2 pints of blood in case you might need transfusion in the theatre. A pint of blood is between #10,000-#12,000.
The good news is the money will be refunded if eventually you were not transfused during the course of the surgery. Paying for blood is just a precautionary measure on the side of the hospital or surgeon.
My analysis on the cost of appendix surgery in Nigeria should not deter you from seeking prompt medical attention (of which surgery is the definitive cure) to you appendicitis. Do not delay or patronize quacks. If you want the best of repairers for you bad phone, why not the best of surgeons and treatment for your body? Think about this.
Remember, a ruptured appendix can kill.
Read more on appendix surgery on Healthline