Laser neck surgery is a cutting-edge, cost-efficient method for treating a number of common spine conditions that affect the neck. Below, we'll explore some of the basics about laser neck surgery, as well as the factors that determine the cost of surgery.
The neck can be affected by a number of conditions. Most cases of neck pain are caused by temporary damage to the muscles, which will heal on its own. However, pain that persists, is severe, or is accompanied by symptoms like muscle weakness or numbness may be caused by an underlying spine conditions.
Many spine conditions cause symptoms by pressing against the spinal cord or the nerve roots. Inflammation is also a major factor that causes pain. Some potential causes of neck pain include:
- Herniated discs - When a disc herniates, the outer portion ruptures, allowing the inner portion to herniate out of its normal boundaries.
- Bulging discs - When a bulging disc occurs, the disc remains intact but is misshapen, bulging past its normal boundaries.
- Bone spurs - Abnormal growths of bone on the vertebrae.
- Spondylolisthesis - One vertebrae slips past another, causing misalignment.
- Vertebral fractures - Due to traumatic injury or repetitive stress, a vertebrae fractures.
- Spinal tumors - A growth, either benign or cancerous, in the spinal canal. This is a rare condition.
The symptoms of the various spine conditions can mimic one another. Therefore, your doctor will use diagnostic tests along with physical examination and analysis of your symptoms to make a diagnosis.
How Laser Neck Surgery Works
Laser neck surgery is a cutting-edge alternative to traditional spine surgery. During this surgery, the physician makes two small incisions along the neck. Through one incision, a small camera is inserted, which allows the doctor to see the inside of the spine on a screen in the operating room. Through the other incision, a laser probe is inserted. This allows the doctor to dissolve the affected tissue, such as part of a herniated disc.
Laser neck surgery is much less invasive than traditional spine surgery, and as a result the risks and recovery time are lower. Patients can usually return home the same day as the surgery, after spending a few hours in the office for observation. Relief from symptoms may be immediate. Most patients can return to a desk job within a week. Within 6 weeks, patients are expected to make a full recovery and return to physically strenuous activities.
There is some risk of side effects with any surgery. However, laser neck surgery has a lower risk of complications such as bleeding, blood clots, and infection, thanks to the fact that the procedure is less invasive and there is no hospital stay required.
Who is a Candidate?
Only a doctor can tell you whether you're a candidate for laser neck surgery. However, even people who have been told that they are not good candidates for traditional spine surgery may still be candidates for laser neck surgery.
You may be a candidate for laser neck surgery if you have a common spine condition such as a herniated or bulging disc, which is severe or has not responded to non-surgical treatments. In general, doctors prefer to use conservative methods whenever possible before turning to surgery.
Because the procedure is shorter than traditional spine surgery and requires no hospital stay, the overall cost of laser surgery may be somewhat less than for open spine surgery. However, any surgery in the modern world is expensive, because of the resources and expertise that go into performing the surgery.
The biggest factor determining your out-of-pocket cost will be your insurance coverage. Your insurance should cover laser neck surgery as long as its deemed to be medically necessary. However, you may still have a co-pay or deductible. You should contact your insurance plan for the details of coverage, and talk to your doctor about your concerns. Co-pays and deductibles vary significantly from plan to plan, so there is no set out-of-pocket cost that most patients pay.
Weighing Costs & Benefits
When you look at your portion of the cost of laser neck surgery, it's important to look at the long-term benefits in comparison to the immediate costs. Although the initial cost of surgery may be higher than not getting treatment, the long-term costs are often higher.
For example, getting treatment for your condition can prevent you from needing future medical care for the condition itself, and for other conditions that develop as a result of chronic pain. In addition, your work productivity may go up while days off work go down, resulting in higher earnings. Finally, your overall quality of life drastically increases when you get effective treatment for chronic pain, which is of immeasurable value.
Managing the Cost
You may be able to afford your portion of the cost of surgery out-of-pocket without trouble. However, some people need help with their portion of the costs. If this is the case, there are a number of resources available to help you, including third-party financing plans, payment plans, credit cards, loans, and lines of credit.
The top laser neck surgeon in NYC is Dr. Sukdeb Datta of the Datta Endoscopic Back Surgery and Pain Center. Dr. Datta would be happy to meet with you about whether laser neck surgery is right for you. To schedule your consultation today, please click below and enter your information or give us a call at (212) 430-0312.