If you experience back or neck pain, you may have heard about artificial disc replacement (ADR), a procedure used to relieve pain in the neck and back.
This operation has high success rates and can give patients their mobility and comfort back, allowing them to return to their active lifestyles and hobbies. However, cost is a significant factor in any medical procedure. The cost for artificial disc replacement surgery can vary depending on the surgeon you work with, the type of procedure you need, your individual recovery process, and on your health insurance.
If you live with back pain and think you may be a candidate for artificial disc replacement surgery, you likely have questions about the costs associated with this operation. Here is what you need to know about the costs associated with artificial disc replacement to help you understand your expenses and work with your insurance company to maximize your coverage.
Your spine is made up of several vertebrae that help you bend, turn, and twist throughout the day. These bones are constantly moving and there are small cushions called spinal discs in between them. These discs work as shock absorbers, preventing your vertebrae from knocking against each other and wearing the bones down. Unfortunately, these discs can also get damaged. They get pushed out of place (as a herniated disc) or wear down as a result of degenerative disc disease (DDD).
When your discs break or move out of place, you start to feel pain. Sometimes the discs will get pushed into your nerve canal, causing the pain to radiate into your arms and legs or causing numbness in your extremities. It can be hard to move and enjoy your favorite activities.
Artificial disc replacement is the process of removing these broken or damaged discs that are causing you so much pain. Your spinal surgeon will then fill the space with a prosthetic disc that is more durable than your natural one. As a result, you can maintain your mobility and reduce or eliminate your pain because your vertebrae and spinal discs are all in place.
Dr. Todd Lanman, founder of the Advanced Disc Replacement Spinal Restoration Center, is a leader in ADR surgery and served as a principal investigator in ADR medical trials. He is committed to providing a comprehensive, customized recommendation for every patient he sees, and, in most cases, will recommend other treatments and modalities before deciding if you are a candidate for advanced disc replacement surgery.
There are a variety of costs that contribute to the artificial disc replacement procedure. This is a minimally-invasive outpatient operation that uses the most advanced technology to reduce the risk of complications and speed up recovery time.
In the case of ADR by Dr. Lanman, most patients check in to the spinal restoration center on the morning of their procedures and are picked up by their loved ones within a few hours to start the recovery process at home. The technology Dr. Lanman uses is so advanced that the procedure moves quickly and the incision is small. A few of the costs that spinal surgeons accrue during the procedure include:
Operating room (OR) time
Assistant surgeon fee
Different practices have varying price levels for the total artificial disc replacement surgery cost. Without health insurance, most patients can expect to pay between $30,000 to $50,000 for their ADR procedures. Even within a practice, this estimate could be higher or lower depending on the type of procedure you need or how many discs you need.
Cervical artificial disc replacement concerns the vertebrae in the cervical spine (what most people think of as the neck). Dr. Lanman will enter through the front of the neck to relieve the pressure caused by damaged or broken discs. If you don’t need to have an artificial disc replacement and only need a microdecompression surgery, Dr. Lanman will enter through the back of the neck.
Your artificial cervical disc replacement surgery cost is likely to be lower in cost than a lumbar surgery because it affords easier access to your spine.
Lumbar artificial disc replacement involves your lower back. It is harder to get to these spinal discs in this part of the body and the operation can be more complex. Dr. Lanman typically enters through the abdomen for this procedure in order to avoid the sensitive nerves in your spinal canal, which adds time and complexity which can make the operation more expensive. In some cases, the lumbar artificial disc replacement surgery cost can be 50% more than a cervical ADR surgery.
Some patients also have two-level disc replacements or multi-level disc replacements. With these operations, Dr. Lanman addresses multiple failed discs in different parts of the spine through one procedure. If you need more than one disc repaired, your surgical costs are likely to be higher.
It is possible that you won’t have to pay for the majority of your artificial disc replacement surgery cost. Many health insurance providers cover expenses related to artificial disc replacement. They will cover all, if not most, of the expenses related to removing your damaged discs and replacing them with artificial ones.
If Dr. Lanman thinks you are a candidate for artificial disc replacement surgery, you can start working with your health insurance provider to understand what is covered. Your insurer may need to see your treatment history to understand your pain levels and the options you have already explored to relieve your neck and back pain.
There is good news for patients who visit the Advanced Disc Replacement Spinal Restoration Center. When you work with Dr. Lanman, he almost always starts with non-surgical treatments to better understand your condition. If these do not work, he will move on to recommending ADR. These steps show your insurance company that surgery is your only option and needs to be covered.
Your insurer may have limits on whether you are covered for ADR or not. Some providers set restrictions based on age and lifestyle factors. If your insurer thinks the risks of ADR outweigh the potential benefits, then they may deny coverage of your treatment.
Dr. Lanman and his office staff work carefully with all patients to make sure their chances of insurance coverage are high ahead of artificial disc replacement surgery.
There are multiple factors to consider when you opt for artificial disc replacement surgery. You want to find a doctor who offers fair prices, but you also need to trust they have the skill and experience to handle your case. While ADR has a high success rate, it isn’t guaranteed that you will live without pain and with the full range of motion that you expect. You may need a second surgery if the first one doesn’t fully resolve your pain.
This is why you want to choose the best possible surgeon for your case. Dr. Lanman is a leading spinal neurosurgeon with decades of experience in spinal surgery and in advanced disc replacement. He invests in technology that reduces the invasive nature of ADR and speeds up recovery times, to give his patients the best experience possible.
The artificial disc replacement costs that you will accrue don’t end when you leave the office. Most patients need to wait at least two to six weeks before they can return to work. Even once they are able to move around and lift objects, they have to be careful during the recovery process.
In the weeks following your surgery, it’s important to set aside funds for your time off work while also accounting for home care. Your loved ones might need to miss work for a few days during your immediate recovery in order to help you get up, move around safely, and meet your basic food and bathroom needs.
There are surgical alternatives to ADR if you are living in pain. Before disc replacement became a common practice, spinal surgeons relied on fusion to reduce pain in patients. With spinal fusion, the broken disc is removed and the two vertebrae are fused together. This prevents them from scraping against each other, reducing pain but also limiting the patient’s range of motion.
Spinal fusion is an alternative to ADR, but it can lead to a poorer quality of life because you can’t move as well and is typically more expensive than advanced disc replacement. Spinal fusion can cost between 20-30 percent more than ADR.
Additionally, spinal fusion comes with longer recovery times as a result of a more involved operation. Rather than working through an incision about an inch long, Dr. Lanman uses a larger incision in order to have a clearer picture of the spine to complete the fusion process. You may have to stay in the recovery center longer and you might not be able to walk, work, and lift objects for a more prolonged period of time as compared to ADR.
For these reasons, many patients choose ADR over spinal fusion.
If back pain is a constant part of your daily life, you deserve relief. If you can’t move as well as you would like and experience numbness in your arms and legs, it’s time to meet with a professional. Dr. Lanman is one of the country’s leading spinal surgeons and has dedicated his life to helping his patients find relief from pain and increase their mobility so they can enjoy active lives.
Request a consultation with Dr. Lanman today and take the first steps toward your diagnosis and treatment. Artificial disc replacement could be the procedure you need to regain your mobility and banish pain, for good.
Your life awaits. Schedule your consultation at one of our premier locations today.
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