Type of Surgery

Introduction to Spine, Back, and Neck Surgery

Last updated: 02/23/2009

We all suffer from little discomforts—cricks in the neck after sleeping badly, lower back pain after too much heavy lifting. Are these aches and pains necessary? This depends. While a bit of soreness and stiffness is perfectly normal, certain people suffer from severe pain that doesn’t simply disappear on its own after some stretching and a few hours’ time. And sometimes, pain can point to serious conditions that need immediate attention. Spine, back, and neck surgery are designed to keep you comfortable and mobile. Popular procedures include operations for disk removal, fractures, foranetomies, and bone grafting.
Costs of Spine, Back, and Neck Surgery
Disk removal surgeries, or discectomies, are one of the more common types of spine, back, and neck surgeries. When herniated or ruptured disks shift positions, they can press on nerve tissue and cause tingling and pain. Discectomies may be performed on almost any portion of the spine, including the lower back and the neck. Operations can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000, after adding in the hospital and anesthesiologist fees.
Spinal fusion surgery is quite a different picture. Rather than removing, spinal fusion calls for inserting bone grafts into the spinal column. These grafts may be harvested from other parts of your body; once implanted, they will eventually fuse with preexisting vertebrae, decreasing your spine’s mobility in that area. According to the American Academy of Orthaepedic Surgeons, the median cost for spinal fusions in 2003 was $36,000.
Other types of spine, back, and neck surgery may be performed to relieve pinched nerves, correct problems from larger conditions such as scoliosis, or to repair fractured bones that result from trauma. These costs fluctuate greatly depending on the location, severity, and age of the patient.
Other Costs to Consider
Apart from the surgeon’s fees, hospital fees, anesthesiologist fees, and a whole myriad of costs associated with your actual operation, most spine, back, and neck surgeries are followed by a long process of healing. You may need a back brace, for example, to keep your vertebrae properly aligned during the healing process, as well as physical therapy to regain mobility. The price of keeping yourself on the proper track after spine, back or neck surgery can be hard on the wallet, but it’s worthwhile when you consider the astronomical fees that you may be forced to pay if complications arise. Just remember that your expenses will last longer the operation itself.
Insurance for Spine, Back, and Neck Surgery
Most spine, back and neck surgeries are categorized as essential surgeries. As such, the majority of health care providers will cover almost all of the cost. However, the high price tag associated with such procedures means that even if your insurance company is willing to foot 80% of the bill, for example, there is still a hefty portion left to take out of your own budget. Several forms of financial assistance are available to help trim down the price tag even further: if your spine, back, or neck injury is work-associated, you should file for worker’s compensation. Otherwise, look into loans and long-term financing plans, which many surgeons’ offices are happy to help with.

Last Updated: 02/23/2009

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