Medicare reimbursement for common general surgery procedures has declined over the last decade

Published:October 31, 2021DOI:


      • Medicare reimbursement for general surgery procedures lags behind inflation.
      • Trends in Medicare reimbursement are independent of operative approach.
      • Cholecystectomy adjusted reimbursement has decreased by >10% over the last decade.



      The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed reimbursement cuts for operations in 2021. Literature examining reimbursement for common operations is scarce.


      Reimbursement rates were abstracted (2011–2021). Trends in reimbursement rates were analyzed using linear regression.


      From 2011 to 2021, the national inflation rate was 16.3%. Unadjusted reimbursement rates for open and laparoscopic inguinal hernia repairs increased by 6.5% and 7.2%, respectively. There was an increase in unadjusted reimbursement for open appendectomies of 5.1% and 6.1% for laparoscopic. Unadjusted reimbursement for open cholecystectomies increased by 4.4%, but decreased by 6.8% for laparoscopic. When adjusted to 2021 values, reimbursement for all six operations decreased. Laparoscopic and open cholecystectomies experienced the largest decreases (19.8%, 10.2%).


      Since 2011, there have been decreases in adjusted reimbursement for three common operations, independent of operative approach. Awareness of trends in reimbursement rates should be a priority to ensure sustainable general surgical care.


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