nanoknife treatment costIrreversible electroporation (Nanoknife) for prostate cancer

Imagine a tiny robot army wielding miniaturized swords, precisely slicing away at tumors while leaving healthy tissue unscathed. Sounds like science fiction, right? Well, that’s essentially the magic behind NanoKnife, a minimally invasive cancer treatment making waves in the medical world. But before you get too excited, the million-dollar question (literally, sometimes) arises: Will your insurance cover it?

Why Choose NanoKnife?

NanoKnife isn’t your average cancer treatment. This minimally invasive procedure uses electricity to create microscopic “nanosecond pulses” that zap cancer cells to oblivion. Think of it like controlled lightning strikes, targeting tumors with pinpoint accuracy while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. This translates to several potential benefits:

Reduced side effects: Unlike traditional options like surgery or radiation, NanoKnife often leads to fewer side effects like pain, incontinence, and nerve damage. Think faster recovery and a better quality of life post-treatment.

Preserves functionality: For tumors near critical organs, NanoKnife’s precision can be a lifesaver. It can treat tumors in delicate areas like the pancreas or liver without compromising their function.

Minimally invasive: Say goodbye to large incisions and extensive surgeries. NanoKnife is performed through tiny punctures, meaning less pain and a shorter hospital stay.

The Different Types of NanoKnife

NanoKnife isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on the type and location of your tumor, different variations of the procedure might be used:

NanoKnife IRE: This is the original version, primarily used for treating soft tissue tumors like those in the pancreas, liver, lungs, and kidneys.

NanoKnife SRS: This version combines NanoKnife with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), offering a potent one-two punch for treating brain tumors.

NanoKnife DBS: This variation targets tumors in the spine while minimizing damage to delicate nerves.

NanoKnife: The Steps Involved

Here’s a simplified breakdown of what you can expect during a NanoKnife procedure:

Imaging and planning: Your doctor will use imaging scans to map out your tumor and plan the precise placement of the NanoKnife electrodes.

Anesthesia: You’ll likely receive general anesthesia to keep you comfortable during the procedure.

Electrode insertion: Thin needle-like electrodes are inserted into and around your tumor under imaging guidance.

Nanosecond pulses: The NanoKnife delivers targeted electrical pulses, destroying cancer cells within the targeted area.

Monitoring and recovery: You’ll be monitored for a while after the procedure and then released, usually within a day or two.

So, Will Insurance Cover Your NanoKnife Treatment?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as a yes or no. Insurance coverage for NanoKnife varies widely depending on several factors:

Your specific insurance plan: Some plans might cover NanoKnife for certain conditions, while others might exclude it altogether. Always check your plan’s details and benefits booklet.

The type of cancer and its stage: Insurance companies are more likely to cover NanoKnife for certain cancers and earlier stages where other treatment options are less effective or pose higher risks.

The specific NanoKnife procedure: Different variations of NanoKnife might have different coverage policies depending on their use and supporting clinical evidence.

The Cost of NanoKnife

It’s important to remember that NanoKnife is a relatively new and advanced technology, and as such, it comes with a hefty price tag. The nanoknife treatment cost can range from $16,250 to $28,500, with some outliers depending on the complexity of the case and the facility.

What Can You Do to Increase Your Chances of Coverage?

If you’re considering NanoKnife and hoping for insurance coverage, here are some tips:

Talk to your doctor: Discuss your treatment options with your doctor and get their recommendation for NanoKnife. Their justification can be helpful in convincing your insurance company.

Work with your insurance provider: Contact your insurance company directly and inquire about their specific coverage policies for NanoKnife. Be prepared to provide detailed information about your condition and the proposed treatment plan.

Seek a financial advocate: Some hospitals have financial advocates who can help you navigate the insurance maze and maximize your coverage.


NanoKnife offers a promising minimally invasive approach to cancer treatment. While insurance coverage can be a complex issue, it’s worth exploring your options and advocating for this potentially life-saving technology. Remember, the key is to gather information, communicate effectively with your healthcare team and insurance provider, and stay informed throughout the process.