How much was your surgery?

Is anyone comfortable sharing the total hospital and physician fees? Basically the cost of everything out the door? I know each surgery is very different, but I’m just trying to get some examples to see what realm it might be in. I’m wondering especially about anyone here who has had surgery with Dr Lawton in AZ!

I am self-pay but I have a Medishare that will reimburse me, but they do have a maximum limit of $250,000 for surgery. Also, I know that most hospitals will give you a large discount if you are cash pay, so I am really hoping for that. This is getting stressful as it is all falling into place.

@BlacknBlueSaint - has Dr. Lawton agreed to do your surgery or are you still waiting to meet w/ him? I can’t answer about what he charges, but I can tell you that each of my surgeries cost under $2K because I had good insurance coverage. Many doctors do ES surgery as an outpatient surgery which means you pay a flat fee for the surgery center, additionally there is the anesthesiologist’s fee & finally the surgeon’s fee. I think I paid about $800 for the surgery center & don’t recall what the anesthesiologist charged but between his fee & Dr. Samji’s it was under $1K. However, that was in 2014-15 so I’m pretty certain surgical costs are higher now.

You’re absolutely correct that hospitals & most doctors cut their charges down considerably for cash paying patients. I remember seeing a sign in my local hospital some years ago that said the fees for cash payment were 75% lower than those where insurance was involved. That was eye opening to me!!

1 Like

Thank you for sharing! Everything with Dr Lawton’s office has taken so long that I ended up seeing a vascular surgeon in my area in the meantime to see if I could at least get my dynamic angiogram done. So now that angiogram is scheduled for Tuesday next week and Dr Lawton’s office calls me late this afternoon and tells me that he wants to make sure that the angiogram I’m doing up here is going to include pressure monitoring. So I called the vascular surgeon’s office here and asked if he’s doing that, and he told the nurse he needs to call me Monday to discuss it, but the nurse told me that initially he said no he isn’t going to do that, but then he told her to just schedule a phone appointment with me. So I have no idea what he is going to tell me, but probably no. And when Dr. Lawton’s office called they also told me that they were ready to get me scheduled for everything if I wanted to come there and do my angiogram instead, and they can get me scheduled August 26th for that, then a consult with Dr. Lawton the next day, and then surgery the day after that. So it all feels like it’s a lot happening really fast and it’s making me kind of freak out, but at the same time this is what I was wanting all along and have been waiting for for months, so I think I’m just going to go for it and let Dr. Lawton’s endovascular surgeon (Dr. Albuquerque) do my angiogram so that it’s done correctly. They currently have me penciled in for those dates and they are going to call me Monday to finalize everything so I will know more then.

Please pray for clear answers on all of this and that God helps me find a petsitter and a place to stay on such short notice if this is where I’msupposed to go. Thank you! :two_hearts:


Will pray for the right path to be made clear, and for all the details to fall into place. I don’t know if it helps, but have you seen the WITT scheme? There may not be time!
Ben’s Friends Partnership with We’re In This Together (WiTT) - We’re In This Together - Living with Eagle
Prayers and hugs :pray: :hugs:

1 Like

Dr. Lawton, with ENT Dr. Santarelli assisting, did my surgery in November 2021. The total CHARGED cost was $33,734.88. The Medicare APPROVED amount was $17,003.15. Of that, I only paid my annual deductible of $1,484.00. This amount included: hospital inpatient for 1 day, pathology, initial visit with Dr. Lawton, follow-up (post op) visit with the ENT, the hospitalist (doctor during my hospital pre-op visit), inpatient doctor care, Dr. Lawton’s surgical fee, EEG and anesthesia. In going through my statements, I didn’t see a billing for Dr. Santarelli. I don’t know if that’s because he was technically just assisting (I think he actually did most of the surgery - he authored the surgical report). My surgery was a styloidectomy, with no C1 shave, and removal of some lymph nodes and calcified ligament. The anesthesiologist double billed, the most recent was this past June! Fortunately, Medicare caught it.

1 Like

Thank you! That’s awesome!

Ok, wow, that is so helpful, thank you so much for sharing all of that!

I think @Jules pointed out WiTT because you can set up an account to request help from friends/associates including pet sitting w/o asking directly. It seems like you got that, but I wanted to clarify just in case it wasn’t clear.

It sounds like Dr. Lawton’s ofc unloaded a lot of unexpected info on you w/ very short notice especially after no contact from them. I’m really glad he’s willing to see you since he’s turned several of our members away who seemed to us like candidates for his care.

I’ll also pray that your path will be clear to get everything done as his office has scheduled. If I lived closer to you, I’d offer to pet sit. My son worked in Phoenix for awhile & we went to visit once & stayed in an Air BnB which was in an apartment complex (this was a first - having an Air BnB be in an apartment complex). The apartment was quite large & comfy but up on the third floor w/ no elevator (I should have checked the details more carefully). Air BnBs & VRBOs can be less expensive than hotel rooms & often have full kitchens or at the very least kitchenettes (i.e. fridge/mini-fridge & microwave & coffee maker). Might be something to check out. Make sure you check the extra fees charged as some advertise low nightly rates & tack on a bunch of fees where others are a little pricier but don’g have fees. Also make sure to look at the cancellation policy. Some will give a full refund of fees almost up to the rental date where others put it far ahead of rental date.


Thank you for your prayers and offer to petsit if you were closer! That is very sweet!

And thank you for clarifying about that WiTT and the info about Airbnb. We ended up finding a rental that is a good option today and only half a mile from the hospital. It was on which we’ve found has been better prices if it’s a longer stay.

That’s too bad that Dr Lawton turned away some members. Seems like he is mostly doing more complex surgeries, or ones that need the C1 shaved, which I do.


Thank you for the link to another good housing resource. I’ll check it out. It looks like things are working out for your trip to see Dr. Lawton.

The people I mentioned being turned away from Dr. Lawton all had more complex cases, but he, as well as other doctors on our list, has his version of what defines ES & what needs his intervention. It’s a safety net for all doctors to decide whose cases to take on & whose to reject. That is as it should be but makes it hard for those who must continue searching for a doctor who will accurately diagnose & help with a complicated health issue.