Pain in your legs can emerge from all areas of life. Perhaps you had a childhood sports injury that increased in scope as the years have gone by. Your spine may be predisposed to spinal issues due to hereditary problems others in your family have also faced. A recent trauma, whether on the job or on the road, could possibly have led you to the point where you are now: sidelined by back or leg pain.
The great news is that you don’t have to let a pinched nerve or sciatica continue to dominate your life. You don’t need to live in constant fear that you’ll become increasingly disabled. Instead, you have minimally invasive surgical opportunities, like microdiscectomy, available to you that can help reduce the pain and ensure that you don’t miss out on those parts of life you love most. The microdiscectomy cost you and your insurance pay can equal an enormous return on investment when you are able to jump back into the activities you love.
Your Current Pain
Your acute (rapid onset) or subacute (recent onset) sciatica could have many causes, from degenerating discs, to old injuries that may have sat dormant for a while before coming back to again take you away from everyday life. But how can you decide if the pain you are experiencing is really bad enough to seek out a spine surgeon – especially if you are worried about the microdiscectomy cost? Ask yourself these questions.
- Do you take large or frequent doses of OTC or prescribed pain medication just to get through everyday life?
- Have you had to pull out of beloved activities because they cause high levels of pain?
- Has your ability to work been hampered because of your pain?
- Do you need assistance with – or have you abandoned trying to accomplish – various activities of daily living?
Answering yes to any one of those questions is a clear indication that it’s time to begin addressing your pain.
Minimally Invasive Microdiscectomy
A microdiscectomy could be the surgical answer to your pinched nerve or sciatica. If your problems stem from herniated lumbar discs, this procedure could effectively treat the cause of your pain. When you have a herniated disc, it means that a part of your spine has slipped to where it doesn’t belong, and is now causing a disc to compress a nerve or move drastically outside of its normal position.
When you and your doctor determine that you are a candidate for minimally invasive microdiscectomy, a surgical plan will be drawn up to determine parts of the disc that can be removed in order to stop its impact on surrounding tissue and nerve. Because this procedure can address nerve impingement issues, it is sometimes also referred to as microdecompression. As impinging bits of disc are removed, the pain signals being sent through those nerve channels will diminish or completely go away over time.
Weighing Microdiscectomy Cost
As you consider surgical intervention, you will need to consider microdiscectomy cost factors – both in terms of dollars, and in terms of impact. The monetary cost is perhaps the simpler of the two to evaluate. As you work with your spine surgeon, his/her staff will work to coordinate your benefits through your insurance company.
Depending on your level of coverage, your deductible, and what your out of pocket maximum may be, you could be looking at a fairly high price tag. However, you may be able to use Health Savings Account funds to offset the cost of care if you are enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan. You can also work with your doctors to determine a payment plan over time.
The microdiscectomy cost associated with outcome is harder to weigh. First, microdiscectomy is considered minimally invasive surgery. Smaller incisions mean shortened recovery times. You will still have a recovery period, however, and may spend a bit of time in physical therapy both before and after surgery. This represents a cost of time.
You may also experience higher pain just after your surgery while your body recovers from the procedure. This is typically very short term in nature and treatable with post-surgical medications. However, your largest post-microdiscectomy cost to consider is the cost of not addressing your sciatica or pinched nerve pain issues. How much more of life will you have to experience from the sidelines? What future opportunities would your pain force you to forgo? Can you really afford NOT to undergo microdiscectomy?
Making the decision to seek any kind of surgery is a process that requires a lot of consultation, consideration, and preparation. Ensure that you include all members of your care team in making this decision, including your primary care physician, your personal support system and family, and the members of your spine surgeon’s team.
Working together, you can create a plan that capably addresses your issues while increasing your future quality of life. Even though you live in pain today, you don’t have to live in pain in the future.
Dr. Alfred T. Ogden is an accomplished neurosurgeon in North Jersey and is a proud member of Neurosurgeons of New Jersey, practicing out of their Ridgewood office conveniently located on East Ridgewood Avenue. Dr. Ogden is internationally recognized as a leader in minimally invasive spine surgery.