Discectomy Pain
 

Discectomy Cost: The Price of Pain Relief

Can you really put a price on a healthy back ?  You certainly can.  And if you’re suffering from a herniated disc it’ll cost you anywhere between $20k – $80k depending on your surgical team and the type of surgery you choose – minimally invasive costing less.  For patients that have a good insurance policy, the deductible is pegged at somewhere between 10 to 40 percent of the cost of the procedure.

Some forum users at Spine-Health and eHealth provide a few facts and figures into the cost of their surgery as well as cheaper options such as signing up for clinical trials.  “Average national costs were about $14,000 for a single-level ACDF procedure and $26,000 for a single-level PLF. (These total figures reflected combined professional and facility costs.) Average cost for KA was about $13,000, increasing to $22,000 for TKA in patients with accompanying other major medical conditions.”

Hub Pages provides an example of the costs associated with Microdiscectomy.

Example: Summary of Microdiscectomy Cost

Description
Amount (USD)
Hospital Services:
Anesthesia
1128.00
Medical Supplies
1969.00
Pharmacy
978.50
Radiology
646.00
Recovery Room
2466.00
Surgery
4586
Surgeon’s Fee:
6329.00
Anesthesiologist’s Fee:
1890.00
TOTAL CHARGES:
$19,992.25
Source: Fees for microdiscectomy performed in a Chicago-area hospital; Feb. 2012
From this list at Pricing Healthcare, you can see that prices for discectomies vary from state to state in the US, ranging between $8000 – $11000. However, make sure you read the ‘Notes’ at the bottom of each list to understand exactly what’s covered.
More recently, this study through the University of Utah shows the varying costs of spinal fusion, anterior cervical discectomy/fusion and posterior lumbar fusion.  And Becker’s Spine Health breaks down the cost between a discectomy and laminectomy.

Fortunately, for those of us living in Canada, microdiscectomy cost is covered by the government.  Universal health is definitely one of the major benefits of living North of the 49th parallel.  Perhaps another option for those Americans looking to get a microsurgery done sooner rather than later.  Here’s Warner Nickerson’s story of getting the procedure done in Croatia.  And if you live in France, this study states a discectomy costs around $650 US (approx. 4000 Francs).

Schwannoma – Symptoms and Treatment

In 2010 I was diagnosed with having a Schwannoma off an L1/L2 root nerve.  After studying my MRI, the neurosurgeon told me that the pain I was experiencing near the middle of my back, which had me vigorously pinching my side,  was most likely a tumor.  The word ‘tumor’ got my heart racing and I immediately thought of a life threatening scenario but after some brief consultation with said neurosurgeon, I was relieved to find out that Schwannoma’s are typically benign and not likely to cause serious harm.  However, the best option for immediate pain relief was to remove it.  I agreed to the operation and this began a long period of recovery.

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Sciatica Treatment

The symptoms of Sciatica are fairly easy to diagnose but the pain can range from mild tingling to extreme burning causing crippling discomfort.  Pain radiating down one leg is generally the first sign but others include weakness in the leg or foot (footdrop), and numbness.  There’s plenty of exercises on Youtube that show ways to alleviate the symptoms of Sciatica but in extreme cases, when compression of lumbar nerves sends sharp waves of pain down through the calf and ankle, stretching may not help.

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Laminectomy Video (Animation 2)

In September of 2011 I underwent a Laminectomy for a herniated disc at L5/S1.  The operation was performed by a Neurosurgeon who advised decompression to alleviate a large herniated disc applying pressure to a nerve root.  He also performed another procedure unrelated to the L5/S1 disc issue which I won’t discuss at the moment.  The entire procedure lasted approximately 5 hours and I stayed one night at the hospital.

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Pwr+ Laptop desk

So this recent Amazon purchase falls into the ‘makes my life a little bit easier’ category.  I’m referring to home or office gadgets that reduce the pain and strain (on my back) of every day life.  Life hacks basically. And to this end, my latest back-easing purchase is the Pwr+ Laptop Desk – a fold-able tray with built in fans to keep a laptop well ventilated. Read More

Nayoya Acupressure Back Mat

So here’s a nifty gizmo for all my back pain brethren (and sisteren?). It’s called the Nayoya Acupressure Mat and it’s basically a foam mat with 6210 plastic spikes attached to it to mimic the effect of acupuncture treatment.  And here’s the story of how I scoffed, then purchased and now recommend this massage aid as it seems to relieve pressure on my back in the way that traditional acupuncture does. Read More

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