How Much Does a Lumbar Microdiscectomy Cost?
A lumbar microdiscectomy is a common surgical procedure on the lumbar spine using a surgical microscope and microsurgical technique to remove a ruptured disc that pinches a spinal nerve root, causing pain for the affected individual.
The surgery is performed only under these circumstances: when the patient experiences pain in his leg, which remarkably limits his normal daily routine; weakening in his legs or feet; numbing feeling in his extremities, or having inadequate bowel and/or bladder functions. Even if the surgery is expensive, the patient’s quality of life will be so greatly improved that it will be well worth it.
How much does it cost?
- Without insurance, lumbar microdiscectomy can cost anywhere from as little as $14,000 to as much as $38,000. The costs depend on the surgeon, the hospital fees and geographical location. However, for those who do have health insurance, most of the time the insurance carrier should cover it as long as it is deemed medically necessary.
- Someone answered the question at an online forum in Ask.com and said that his surgery costs $15,000 without insurance. But since he was paying the bill in cash within two weeks, he was given a 50% discount.
- A microdiscectomy procedure can cost up to $15,550, according to Melody, who shared her own experience in Healthboards.com.
What is going to be included?
- The patient has to be administered with a general anesthetic before being submitted to the procedure.
- The surgery starts with the surgeon making a 2-centimeter skin vertical incision in the middle of the patient’s lower back. Using special retractors, he will carefully part the layers of fat and muscles to get to the bony spine. Then, with the aid of an operating microscope, the surgeon creates a 15-millimeter window in the ligament and bone layer of the spine in order to enter the spinal canal, which houses the nerves and the disc prolapse. Applying microsurgical procedures, the damaged portion of the disc and any disc fragments from beneath the nerve will be removed. The surgeon then proceeds to check for any other loose fragments. Once the nerve is free, the wound is closed with dissolving stitches.
- The amount of work applied during the microdiscectomy procedure depends largely on the number of disc fragments and the level of difficulty in locating and removing them. Most procedures take less than two hours.
- Most procedures include the surgeon’s and assistant surgeon’s professional fees, anesthesiologist fee and the surgery center charges.
- The recovery time will depend on the age of the patient and his overall health condition, the intensity of the pain, and if there were any complications.
What are the extra costs?
- Before the surgery is scheduled, you will need to have an initial visit, some tests run such as MRIs or CTs, and a consultation with the doctor to discuss the results and the course of action.
- The anesthesiologist fee is sometimes not included in the cost of surgery. Be sure to get an itemized bill to know what is going to be included with the surgery.
- Your doctor may prescribe you to undergo physical therapy within three weeks after the surgery. This therapy can last up to 2 months. This should be covered by insurance, but you will most likely have to pay a co-pay or deductible.
- You might also need some medications and follow up visits to your doctor.
Factors that influence the price:
- A surgeon’s professional fee varies from one doctor to another depending on their level of expertise and experience.
- The geographical location of the clinic also matters in the pricing scheme.
Tips to know:
- Before deciding on lumbar microdiscectomy procedure, it is very important that you thoroughly discuss with your doctor about potential risks, complications, as well as the benefits of spinal surgery. Your doctor can determine whether the procedure is appropriate for you.
- The patient is allowed to return home once his medical condition is found to be stable. Most often, a patient can leave the hospital a day after the surgery.
- The patient should refrain from any bending and lifting activity for four to six weeks after his surgery.
- Risks can include worsening of pain, blood clots, nerve damage, a blood transfusion and more. With any surgery, it will never be 100%. Be sure to know your risks before proceeding.
How can I save money?
- Ask your surgeon if he can recommend other options than lumbar discectomy. Perhaps, your case can be relieved with a certain pain killer or physiotherapy.
- Verify with your insurance company to see if it covers lumbar microdiscectomy; if it does, find out how much it is going to pay for the procedure and how much you will be responsible for.
- If you do not have insurance, you may discuss it with your doctor. Most often, they do give discounts if you are going to pay in cash. Even if you cannot afford the payment, many are more than willing to set up financing options.