A hammertoe is so named because of its appearance. It occurs when the ends of the second, third or fourth toes bend downward creating the appearance of a hammer or a claw. It can be caused by ill-fitting shoes, weak muscles, bunions or genetics. It can be corrected through surgery.
Cosmetic Foot Surgery
Though hammertoes can be painful, corrective surgery for them falls under cosmetic foot surgery. This is because more and more hammertoe corrective surgery is being done to make feet look more attractive in sandals or other open-toe shoes rather than because the condition causes pain. Hammertoe surgery straightens the bones in the hammertoe and loosens the tendons in the toe. The surgery is quick and requires about 15 minutes per toe.
The cost to repair a hammertoe in 2009 is around $734, according to the Healthcare Blue Book. This covers the physician fee for the procedure and any routine postoperative care. The Healthcare Blue Book is a consumer guide that helps patients determine the fair price for various procedures.
Some hammertoe surgery is done as an outpatient procedure, but other times it will require hospitalization because the patient may not be able to walk afterward. The Healthcare Blue Book sets the 2009 hospitalization cost for the surgery at $1,800 per day.
General anesthesia is billed as a separate cost. The Healthcare Blue Book put the 2009 cost at $460 for one hour of surgery time. All of these prices are estimated and can vary widely depending on the physician and the location where the surgery is performed.
While insurance won’t cover cosmetic foot surgery, it usually covers a portion of foot surgery that is done because the condition causes pain or other complications. Insurance reimbursements will help lower costs associated with the surgery. Check with your insurance agent to see whether a preauthorization is needed.