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A herniated disc can be a serious setback for anyone with an active lifestyle. Conservative treatments like rest and physical therapy are often highly effective at reducing pain and discomfort, but for many people, they simply are not enough. If you have tried conservative treatments for your herniated disc and are not satisfied with the results, you and your doctor may determine that surgery is the best path forward.

Making the decision to undergo surgery is the first step in this process; the next step is to understand its cost. Knowing the financial demands of your operation in advance can help you feel more at ease about your road to recovery. Here are some of the factors that affect the cost of surgery for a herniated disc.

Insurance Coverage

The most important factor in determining the cost of your surgery for a herniated disc is the extent of your insurance coverage. Many insurance companies will cover the full cost of the operation, while others may cover just a portion. Be sure to discuss your operation with your insurance company if you have any questions or concerns about your resulting financial obligations.

You may find it helpful to discuss your procedure with an insurance specialist to resolve any doubts. Look for a doctor with an insurance specialist on staff who can guide you through the details and help you feel more confident as you proceed with your treatment.

The Details of the Operation

Insurance coverage aside, there are many variables during the herniated disc surgery itself that can each influence the overall cost. For example, longer operations generally cost more money. If your condition is more severe, it may require a longer surgery and thus come at a higher cost. Talk with your doctor about the specifics of your condition to help resolve any doubts you have about the duration of your surgery.

Also, the instruments your surgeon chooses to use can affect the cost of herniated disc surgery. Some procedures require the use of screws, rods or other material intended to stabilize your spine. While these tools can be crucial for your return to an active lifestyle, they can also increase the cost of your operation. Your surgeon should be open with you about the instruments he or she will use and the reasons for using them.

The required personnel present at the operation itself represent another factor that influences cost. In general, the more medical professionals there are on your surgical team, the higher the cost will be overall. Herniated disc surgeries typically involve an anesthesiologist, who will ensure that you are safely unconscious throughout the operation. In addition, some surgeons prefer to operate with other surgical specialists. In either case these doctors may not participate in the some insurance plans as your doctor.  This can lead to additional charges to the patient.

You may find it helpful to ask your doctor in advance about the personnel with whom he or she prefers to work and how it affects the cost of your herniated disc surgery.

Surgical Facility

The facility in which your operation takes place can also determine the cost of your herniated disc surgery. Many facilities charge fees to cover the cost of their supplies and staff, and these fees can vary depending on factors like the facility’s location and size. When choosing a time and place for your operation, you can ask administrators at surgical facilities for clarification about any fees they charge. Additionally, you can talk with your insurance provider about coverage for facility fees.

Post-Operative Care

Another important consideration for the overall cost of your herniated disc surgery is the care you may require after the operation. The immediate effect is that you will likely have to take at least one day off from work; then, depending on the physical demands of your job, you may experience reduced productivity in the days and weeks that follow the operation. Time off and reduced productivity can represent indirect costs of the herniated disc surgery. Be sure to inform your employer of your operation in advance so that he or she can take precautions if necessary.

Finally, a vital part of your recovery will be exercise. Your doctor will likely prescribe physical therapy for a few weeks after your surgery so that you can regain strength in the muscles that surround the operated area.

Make sure you follow the recommendations of your doctor and physical therapist, since proper exercise is a great way to improve your outcome after surgery. However, you will want take into account the cost of physical therapy before commencing the treatments. Many insurance providers are willing to cover all or some of your bill; remember to talk with them about your options.

Final Thoughts

A herniated disc can be a serious setback, but fortunately, surgery is an effective way to treat this condition. If you have decided to undergo surgery for a herniated disc and you are curious about its cost, you should take the necessary steps to find out more information. This overview shows some of the biggest factors that determine herniated disc surgery cost. Remember, however, that you can never do too much research. You can use this article as a guide as you ask questions of your surgeon, your insurance company and anyone else involved in your treatment.

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