How Much Does a Laminectomy Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

A laminectomy is a surgical procedure that helps relieve back pain.  During this procedure, the doctor will remove the lamina bone along the spinal column to help with the symptoms of spinal stenosis.  This condition can often compress the spinal nerves, causing a lot of wear and tear on the spine.  This surgery can either be performed due to the patient’s age or because of a stressful accident which happened in the past.

How much does a laminectomy cost?

On average, invasive surgery will vary anywhere from $15,000 to $75,000+ without insurance.  The price will depend on the type of surgery (invasive or non-invasive) and the surgeon performing the procedure. Minimally invasive surgery can often be done at a local spine center for significantly less — around $15,000 — than an advanced surgery in a hospital.  If the hospital room and operating fees can be bypassed, you should be able to see significant savings.  Invasive surgery will often need an overnight stay in the hospital and can be much more expensive.

With insurance, it will be up to your plan if they are able to cover this procedure or not.  Always consult with your insurance company before getting the surgery as you will find that some companies may not cover the surgery itself.  With insurance, expect to pay the deductibles and necessary co-pays.

A member on the forum shared her bill and said she was charged $5,500 from the surgeon and $24,000 from the hospital.

Laminectomy overview

There are various types of laminectomy surgeries.  Some are going to be invasive, while others will require a slight incision.  An open laminectomy will require a larger incision to gain access, while a minimally invasive laminectomy will require a much smaller incision, allowing the surgeon to move or push aside soft tissue.

Before the surgery even begins, your pulse, breathing, temperature and blood pressure will be checked to make sure you can go under the anesthesia.

During the procedure, a smaller incision will be made to access the lamina.  The muscles and soft tissue around the lamina will be cut or torn in order to gain access.  Once the surgeon is able to gain access, he or she will remove a portion of the lamina to offer more room to the vertebral disc.  This surgery will be performed in the back’s lumbar area.  With an invasive procedure, the average stay will be two to three days, but it can vary.  The procedure could take three to five hours.

Aftercare should involve taking medication, wearing a back brace and resting for up to two weeks.  After these two weeks are up, you will need to avoid any activities that strain the spine such as heavy lifting.  Doctors may also advise you from wearing high heel shoes or sleeping on a firm mattress.  Doctors advise you should plan on taking two to three weeks off work.

What are the extra costs?

A number of tests will be required before the procedure such as an x-ray and/or electrocardiogram.

Hospital costs, such as operating room expenses and the hospital fees, will be added to the cost of the surgery.  Most hospital stays are going to vary anywhere from $500 to $1,500 per day.  A 3-day stay in the hospital can cost more than $4,000.

This surgery will require that you go under local anesthesia.  Anesthesia is going to cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500 depending on the severity of the situation.

Surgeon fees will be a separate bill as well.

Other charges may apply such as lab and radiology fees.

Medication will more than likely be prescribed after the surgery.  Pain medication can start at $5 with insurance and will rise from there.

Tips to know:

If possible, try to find a patient that has had this surgery done before.  Be sure to ask them how they have healed as well as what they thought about the investment into the surgery.  Many of these patients can be found online.

Complications may include bleeding, infection, pain, scarring, heart attack or stroke.

Lumbar laminectomy video

How can I save money?

Ensure that you need the surgery.  Many insurance companies may not cover the surgery since it may not be deemed medically necessary.  To make sure that you need it, be sure to consult with at least two to three doctors to get their opinions.

There are alternatives to surgery which can be helpful in alleviating back pain.  A physical therapist may be more than willing to help you with exercises that can improve your back pain.  The average physical therapy session can cost $100 to $200 without insurance.

Without insurance, many hospitals allow negotiation of the final bill.  Having the cash on hand can lower your bill by 60%.

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