How Much Does Anesthesia Cost Without Insurance in 2021? | Mira (2023)

The total costs of your anesthesia can range from just $200 to $3,500 and the cost depends mainly on the type of anesthesia, whether that be local, regional, general anesthesia, or sedation. Total anesthesia costs typically include the anesthesia supply and equipment fees, the number of anesthesia units, the duration of the procedure, and the provider’s charge per unit of anesthesia.

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The Average Cost of Anesthesia by Procedure Type

The cost of anesthesia can range from $200 to over $3,500, not including other services used during the procedure or surgery. The cost of anesthesia depends largely on the duration of the procedure, base units of the procedure, and the location. Below are the average costs of anesthesia for different types of medical procedures:

Cost of Anesthesia for Different Procedures

Procedure TypeAverage Cost of Anesthesia
Leg Fracture Surgery$469
Hernia Repair$582
Spinal Fusion$1,159
Coronary Bypass Grafting$2,495
Closed Broken Foot$2,375
Wisdom Tooth Removal$225 - $800

Source: Cost Helper Health, Mira

Anesthesia Cost Calculation

The cost of anesthesia is calculated using a formula that includes the base units, the duration of the procedure, and a conversion factor.

  • The duration of the procedure is simply the length of your medical procedure given in 15-minute increments. Longer procedures will result in higher anesthesia costs.
  • The base units account for the complexity, risk, intensity, and skill required to perform the service. More complex procedures that have higher base units will result in higher anesthesia costs.
  • The conversion factor depends on which state you are receiving your procedure in. Some states have higher conversion factors that result in more expensive anesthesia.

If you are trying to determine the cost of anesthesia alone, you will want to know the average number of base units of anesthesia is needed for the procedure, the time it takes to complete the procedure, and your location, which indicates the conversion factor. Below is the formula used to calculate anesthesia fees:

Anesthesia Fee Amount = (Base Units + Time[units]) x Conversion Factor

Example of Cost Calculation for Anesthesia

Let’s calculate the cost of anesthesia for a total shoulder replacement in Manhattan, New York. This procedure takes about 3 hours to complete on average. This means there are 12 units for this procedure (1 unit = 15 minutes). The base units for this procedure are 10 and the conversion factor for New York is 24.55. Therefore, the calculation for anesthesia for this procedure is as follows:

Shoulder Surgery Anesthesia Fee Amount = (10 Base Units + 12 Time Units) x 24.55 = $540.10

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In Manhattan for a total shoulder replacement surgery under general anesthesia, you can expect to pay at least $540.10 for the anesthesia alone. However, the cost for anesthesia does not include the cost of monitoring devices or the healthcare provider’s rate for the procedure. The next section reviews additional costs that are added in addition to anesthesia.

Factors that Influence the Cost of Anesthesia

Many factors affect the overall cost of anesthesia - which largely depends on the intensity of the procedure. Below we outline how different factors may influence the price you pay for anesthesia.

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Type of Anesthesia

The cost of local or regional anesthesia is often cheaper than general anesthesia. Less monitoring equipment is needed to maintain vitals and essential bodily functions such as breathing. The more severe the procedure, the more likely you are to require general anesthesia, but it may also be possible to undergo the procedure utilizing regional anesthesia.

The following are the different types of anesthesia and how much you may expect to pay:

  • Local anesthesia: Familiar treatments that utilize local anesthesia include dental procedures, cataract procedures, or even skin biopsies. The patient is awake during this procedure, as only a small section of the body is numbed. Costs are generally less expensive than other types of anesthesia and can be under $500.
  • Regional anesthesia: Regional anesthesia treatment is used for procedures such as childbirth or cesarean section (C-section), hip or knee surgery, or hand surgery. This method blocks pain to larger regions of the body and can be done while the patient is in a conscious state. Regional and general anesthesia typically range between $500 to $3500.
  • General anesthesia: General anesthesia is a treatment method used to put the patient into an unconscious state and unresponsive to pain and other stimuli. This technique is typically used for more invasive procedures, often of the head, chest, or abdomen.
  • Sedation: Sedation relaxes you to have a more natural sleep but you will still have the ability to be easily aroused or awakened. A light sedation treatment may not require an anesthesiologist. Some types of procedures performed under this method include cardiac catheterization or colonoscopy. Deep sedation is done by an anesthetic professional due to potential breathing interference from the stronger medication. In both sedative techniques, the patient is not completely unconscious and may still remember the procedure. The average cost of sedation using nitrous oxide at a dentistry office using nitrous oxide is $80 to $150 for just the first hour.

According to a study comparing the cost of carpal tunnel surgery with local anesthesia versus sedation, patients saved between $139 to $432 by utilizing local anesthesia compared to sedation.

Number of Base Units

Surgeries with different complexities have different base units, which help determine the cost of your anesthesia. Consider the average number of base units for a procedure when you are trying to determine the cost of your anesthesia. In general, the greater the number of base units, the more expensive your anesthesia will be.

SurgeryAverage Number of Anesthesia Units
Heart and Great Vessels of Heart25
Upper Abdomen30
Total Shoulder Replacement10
Hip Replacement8
Cesarean Delivery (C-Section)7
Vaginal Delivery5

Source: Department of Labor

Anesthesia Provider

The cost of your anesthesia will also depend on whether it is administered by an anesthesiologist or a nurse anesthetist. A way to save on your procedure is by getting your anesthesia administered by a certified nurse anesthetist, as the rate is often cheaper than a board-certified anesthesiologist. However, if you are undergoing a more intense or invasive procedure, you may decide to choose an anesthesiologist.


The location the procedure is taking place can also determine the cost. As shown in the anesthesia cost calculation, the conversion factor is based on the location and varies by state, or sometimes within a region of a state. The higher the conversion factor, the more expensive your anesthesia will be. Below are some examples of the 2021 conversion factors when estimating the cost of your anesthesia:

LocationConversion Factor
Miami, FL21.93
Manhattan, NY24.55
Houston, TX22.07
Portland, OR21.53
Detroit, MI22.37

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

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Anesthesia Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below we answer some common questions that you may have when preparing for a procedure that may require anesthesia.

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What is anesthesia and what is it used for?

Anesthesia is a medical treatment that is used to prevent you from feeling any pain during invasive procedures or surgery. The medications used are called anesthetics, and different types exist to numb various regions of the body or to induce sleep. Anesthetics work by temporarily blocking sensory or pain signals from the nerves.

Anesthesia can be administered by doctors called anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists. You may also have an entire team to monitor your pain and functioning depending on the intensity of the surgery.

What are the side effects of anesthesia?

Side effects can occur when getting anesthesia but often resolve within 24 hours of the procedure. Due to potential side effects, you should refrain from driving or operating machinery and spend the remainder of your day resting post-operation. Some side effects you may experience from anesthesia include:

  • Back or muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Itching
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain, tenderness, bruising, or redness of injection sites
  • Sore throat

What are the risks of having anesthesia?

In general, anesthesia is safe and there are minimal risks. The safest form of anesthesia is local anesthesia, where only a small area of the body is numbed and the patient remains fully alert and oriented. However, there are always risks of complications when receiving anesthesia.

About one out of every thousand of patients under general anesthesia may experience anesthetic awareness, where you may be aware of your surroundings but unable to move during the procedure. Another risk of general anesthesia is a condition called postoperative cognitive dysfunction, which can result in long-term memory and learning problems. This condition is more common in older individuals. Anesthesia can be more dangerous for patients with obstructive sleep apnea, causing them to stop breathing while they sleep.

Risks of anesthesia can be higher due to the following conditions. Therefore it is important to discuss the risks of anesthesia with your health care provider before any procedure.

  • Anesthesia allergy
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney problems
  • Lung conditions (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder)
  • Obesity
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Stroke
  • Seizures and other neurological disorders
  • Excessive smoking or drinking

How can I reduce the costs of anesthesia?

Procedures that use local or regional anesthesia are often cheaper than procedures that require general anesthesia. You may be able to opt for these forms of anesthesia depending on the procedure type. In addition, anesthesia from a certified registered nurse anesthetist costs about 25 percent less than from an anesthesiologist.

Consider these questions when speaking with various providers:

  • What out-of-pocket costs can I expect for this anesthetist?
  • Do you work with any other anesthetist that would charge a lower fee?
  • What is your unit price and what factors determine the price?
  • How long is this procedure expected to take?

Is anesthesia covered by health insurance?

Anesthesia is covered by health insurance if the procedure or surgery is deemed medically necessary. Elective or cosmetic surgeries and associated anesthesia costs are typically not covered by insurance. You may be required to pay a portion of the cost for your treatment depending on whether you have met your deductible and based on your insurance policy.

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To avoid surprise medical bills, be sure to ask your healthcare provider whether the assigned anesthesiologist is in-network, as your insurance may not cover an anesthesiologist if they are an out-of-network provider. In addition, you can consider negotiating the rates with your provider.

Bottom Line

The cost of anesthesia is generally between $200 and $3,500 and varies greatly depending on the intensity of the procedure and your location. Ways to predict your cost are by understanding the base units and the time your procedure requires. When preparing for anesthesia, talk with your surgeon about whether their anesthesiologist is in-network if you have insurance. Otherwise, you may want to explore options to use local or regional anesthesia if general anesthesia is not necessary for your procedure.

Engaging in preventative care is a great way to reduce the risk of illness and injury later. Mira offers affordable preventative care options including virtual primary care and urgent care services. With Mira, you can get access to affordable healthcare for yourself, your family, or even your business! Try Mira today.


How much is anesthesia out of pocket? ›

Bottom Line. The cost of anesthesia is generally between $200 and $3,500 and varies greatly depending on the intensity of the procedure and your location. Ways to predict your cost are by understanding the base units and the time your procedure requires.

What does general anesthesia cost? ›

Common procedures which typically (except for complications) do not take a long amount of time, such as colonoscopies or upper endoscopies, will typically incur an anesthesia charge of $150 to $300.

Does general anesthesia cost more? ›

The Cost of General Anesthesia (GA)

However, it is usually around $400 for the first 30 minutes and then another $150 for each additional 15 minutes. This can vary based on your personal circumstances. In most cases, the cost does not exceed $1000.

Is local or general anesthesia cheaper? ›

A local anesthetic can be much cheaper than general anesthesia as well. For the most part, the local anesthetic will keep the patient from feeling anything. Plus, they will be able to drive home after the procedure.

Do you have to pay for local anesthesia? ›

According to the American Dental Association, local anesthesia is usually considered part of most treatments. As a result, it should carry no additional charge. Ask for a pre-treatment estimate from your dental office if you'd like to make certain local anesthesia is not considered a separate charge.

Can I buy local anesthesia? ›

Local anaesthetics are usually given by dentists, surgeons, anaesthetists, GPs and other doctors. Some medicines containing mild local anaesthetic are also available on prescription or over the counter from pharmacies.

How is general anesthesia billed? ›

The proper way to report anesthesia time is to record it in minutes. One unit of time is recorded for each 15-minute increment of anesthesia time. For example, a 45-minute procedure, from start to finish, would incur three units of anesthesia time. Being exact is required, since Medicare pays to one-tenth of a unit.

How are anesthesia services billed? ›

Anesthesia services are reimbursed differently from other procedure codes. Part of the payment for anesthesia is based on 'base units,' which are assigned to anesthesia CPT codes by CMS. The remainder of the payment allowance is based on the time the patient was 'under anesthesia. '

Why do anesthesiologists bill separately? ›

Why did I receive more than one bill for anesthesia care? Anesthesiologists typically are not employees of the care facility and bill separately for their services. CRNAs can bill separately for their services and may be employed independent of the care facility or the anesthesiologist.

Is Anaesthesia covered by insurance? ›

Anesthesia typically is covered by health insurance for medically necessary procedures. For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs for anesthesia can consist of coinsurance of about 10% to 50%.

Why does anesthesia pay so much? ›

In general, anesthesiologists make so much as they are integral medical professionals before, during and after surgical procedures. Another reason why they earn a lot (in some cases, even more than surgeons) is that anesthesiologists went through years of costly college, training, residency and fellowship.

How long does anesthesia last? ›

Anesthetic drugs can stay in your system for up to 24 hours. If you've had sedation or regional or general anesthesia, you shouldn't return to work or drive until the drugs have left your body. After local anesthesia, you should be able to resume normal activities, as long as your healthcare provider says it's okay.

What is the safest anesthesia for surgery? ›

The safest type of anesthesia is local anesthesia, an injection of medication that numbs a small area of the body where the procedure is being performed. Rarely, a patient will experience pain or itching where the medication was injected.

Which is safer sedation or general anesthesia? ›

IV sedation does cause partial memory loss, and patients will not remember any of their procedure. Recovery is fast and patients will be back to their routine quickly. IV sedation is a safer option compared to general anesthesia.

Is laughing gas anesthesia? ›

“Laughing Gas” is the common name for nitrous oxide.

Laughing gas and nitrous oxide are one in the same—a safe and effective anesthetic administered to dental patients through a mask in an oxygen mixture. Laughing gas won't put you to sleep like general anesthesia.

How much does it cost to have a dentist put you to sleep? ›

As of 2022, the cost of general anesthesia to perform sleep dentistry range from $400 to $600 per hour. This includes the cost of drugs administered and recovery time. On average, the patient can expect to spend about $500/hr plus the dentistry treatment rendered.

Can I go home by myself after general anesthesia? ›

It's best to have someone with you for at least the first 24 hours after general anesthesia. You may continue to be sleepy, and your judgment and reflexes may take time to return to normal.

Can I buy over-the-counter anesthesia? ›

Over-the-counter (OTC) topical anesthetics, such as benzocaine (Orajel), can also help manage pain from: tooth, gum, or mouth sores. open wounds.
Topical anesthetics come in the form of:
  • liquids.
  • creams.
  • gels.
  • sprays.
  • patches.

How long does it take for anesthesia to kick in? ›

How long does it take for anesthesia to kick in? General anesthesia usually puts you to sleep in less than 30 seconds.

How much does a shot of lidocaine cost? ›

The cost for lidocaine injectable solution (1% preservative-free) is around $11 for a supply of 20 milliliters, depending on the pharmacy you visit.
Injectable Solution.
QuantityPer unitPrice
6000 (24 x 250 milliliters)$0.03$188.18
9000 (18 x 500 milliliters)$0.01$134.33
12000 (24 x 500 milliliters)$0.02$214.46

How much does it take for anesthesia to wear off? ›

How Long Does It Take General Anesthesia to Wear Off? The length of time it takes for general anesthesia to wear off depends on the type of anesthesia used, the dose, and the patient's individual response. Generally, it takes between 30 minutes and two hours for the effects of general anesthesia to wear off.

How much is local anesthesia for dental work? ›

On average, the dental anesthesia cost varies from $100 to $1,000. The price depends on the type of anesthesia and the length of your dental procedure.
Dental Anesthesia Cost in the US (USD)
Type of AnesthesiaCost
Light oral sedation$500
Local anesthesia*No fee for numbing the sites
3 more rows
Sep 22, 2022

Who is eligible for anesthesia? ›

The minimum eligibility required for this course is that the candidate must have passed 10+2 from a recognized board and must have physics, chemistry and biology as their core subjects. In order to enroll in this course, the candidate can take admission on a merit basis as well as an entrance basis.

Why don t anesthesiologists take insurance? ›

Their income/salary is generated through the billing system of the hospital. The hospital charges your insurance for your stay, use of the surgery theater, anesthesia,materials used, etc. Therefore, the anesthesiologist has no reason to bill you or your insurance independently.

How do you bill anesthesia services? ›

CPT codes 00100-01860 specify “Anesthesia for” followed by a description of a surgical intervention. CPT codes 01916-01933 describe anesthesia for radiological procedures. Several CPT codes (01951-01999, excluding 01996) describe anesthesia services for burn excision/debridement, obstetrical, and other procedures.


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