Search thousands of topics on CostHelper

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business sports weddings
CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > General Surgery & Neurosurgery > Laser Spine Surgery

Laser Spine Surgery Cost

How Much Does Laser Spine Surgery Cost?

average costSimple Procedure: $6,000-$20,000high costComplex Procedure: $20,000-$70,000+

Unlike traditional spine surgery, in which doctors might rely on a high-speed drill or electrocautery[1] to repair or remove damaged areas, in laser spine surgery, a focused light beam is used to cut through tissue.

Typical costs:

  • Traditional spine surgery can cost from $6,000-$70,000, depending on the specific procedure, the type and complexity of the condition being treated, and the region in which it is performed. For example, at Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center[2] in Lincoln, NE, average spinal surgery costs are $39,871. However, because of the technology it requires, laser spine surgery can result in higher starting costs, and typically costs $30,000-$90,000 or more. What's more, unlike traditional spine surgery, which is typically covered by health insurance, patients must often pay most of the cost themselves.
  • According to the Central Texas Spine Institute[3] in Austin, TX, many health care providers consider laser spine surgery experimental and do not cover it. Others may cover only part of the procedure. In one online forum[4] , one laser spine surgery patient complained that Aetna would not cover any portion of the $70,000 in total costs for the procedure. A patient in another forum said that his health care provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield, would only pay about $10,000 of a $30,000 charge.
Related articles: Back Surgery, Back Brace, Spinal Traction, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • The Mayo Clinic advises patients not to proceed with any type of spine treatment until they first see a medical spine specialist who can evaluate symptoms and diagnose their cause.
  • Laser spine surgery is most often performed in outpatient facilities or specialized centers. According to Advanced Spine Surgery Center in Union, N.J., the procedure involves inserting an endoscope, a thin tube with a micro video camera attached to it, through an incision less than an inch in size near the affected area. A laser is then used to perform the surgery to repair or remove the affected tissue. General anesthesia is usually unnecessary.
  • Proponents[5] of the procedure note that it is minimally invasive, allows surgeons to precisely target areas of the spine, and brings a quick recovery time, which may be as little as a few days to week.
Additional costs:
  • Post-operative check-ups may be required.
  • Following surgery, some patients may need to use over-the-counter pain relievers[6] such as buprofen, which can cost about $5 -$25, depending on the quantity and whether the patient buys a name brand or its generic equivalent.
  • Some laser surgery centers offer to connect out-of-town patients with discounted travel and accommodation if needed.
Shopping for laser spine surgery:
  • Though the surgery has gained in popularity, according to the Mayo Clinic, its effectiveness has never been studied in a controlled clinical trial and most neurosurgeons don't use the procedure since there are no clear benefits over more well-established techniques. There has been some controversy[7] surrounding laser spine surgery centers, with more than a dozen malpractice suits filed against a leading purveyor, the Tampa, FL-based Laser Spine Institute, since 2009.
  • offers a checklist of questions patients considering the procedure should ask doctors.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
post Post   Comments (8)  
CostHelper News

7 Lesser-Known Discounts for the 50+ Crowd
As they age, members of the Baby Boomer generation don't like to admit that they're senior citizens, but they love getting discounts. It's kind of a quandary, because some of the best deals available are reduced prices for older folks. || Posted October 21 2013

7 Ways to Stretch Your Reduced Food Budget
End of the year budgets are tight for everyone, especially in this economy.It's especially hard for the millions of Americans who depend on government programs like food stamps to help make ends meet. || Posted November 11 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts

What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Back surgery,L4,L5,,numbness in foot
Amount: $1,100,000.00 not covered by insurance
Posted by: Edward Henley in Johnson City,, TN.Posted: July 12th, 2018 07:07PM
Surgeon: Medical Center:,tampa
Had a lot of pain Walking around, Had to set down and get off of my leg for awhile. It started in the heal of my foot getting numb. Went to Tampa Florida to the laser spine institute, had operation walked out went to dinner. now after10 years the problem is back. my foot is very numb but it doesn't heart as bad
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Low back pain
Amount: $0.00 not covered by insurance
Posted by: C. Ann in Murphysboro, IL.Posted: March 27th, 2018 10:03AM
Surgeon: Not yetMedical Center: St. Louis Mo
I haven’t had it yet cause they said MEDICARE didn’t pay and it would cost 13,000.00 dollars. I’ve had 2 back surgeries and nether has helped. I take 2 different kinds of pain medicine and then my pain is still a5 or 6. Sometimes I beg to go to the hospital to get a shot to knock me out. I’ve been on medicine for 8 years. I can’t stand, walk, sit, lay for very long at a time. I can’t do anything anymore. I’m afraid if I agree to do this , it’s going to end up costing 50,000 or so thousands of dollars. I can’t afford and the first thing they ask is for money. I had to pay 250.00 dollars to keep options open for a year. I ask what they seen on MRI that all the other surgeons couldn’t see. I’ve been seen by 6 surgeons and they say the same except for spine institute. They wouldn’t tell me what they saw. I can’t afford to take a chance and not be fixed plus all the money I would have to pay out of pocket. They did say no sure thing it will cost only 13,000 thousand. I’m scared cost more!
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Amount: $4,000.00 not covered by insurance
Posted by: Etta Rodgers in TAMPA,, FL.Posted: December 9th, 2017 09:12PM
Surgeon: Medical Center: TAMPA FL.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
lower spine 2 buldgig dics
Amount: $13,000.00 not covered by insurance
Posted by: DianeG Moore in princeston, NC.Posted: February 20th, 2016 07:02PM
Surgeon: Don't know yet.Medical Center: pa.
This is very costly to me. I'm having to go into retirement and I in so much pain I'm losing the strength in my legs. I brougk my hip and the first doctor botched it. So I had to pay for a second replacement at Duke, Out of pocket, I had to pay 5,000.00 to Duke doctors plus other expences. That was hard to do since I'm a window with no other help. If could help I would be ever so grateful. What is the cost of the least expensive place to go to a hotel. What is the plane flight cost because there is no way I can ride that didtance plus I' having to come up with money for someone to travel to help me since my walking is difficult. I pray you can help me. The pain he unbareble. I get very little sleep.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Looking for laser spine surgeon in San Diego
Amount: $0.00 not covered by insurance
Posted by: Anthony Paschini in San Diego, CA.Posted: June 22nd, 2015 11:06AM
Surgeon: looking forMedical Center: looking for
I am 48 living in San Diego CA. I have Blue Shield CA and am in need of spinal surgery. I have call a few Laser spine centers and come to find there is a up front cost of $5.000 before they even speak with Blue Shield. I have spoke with two different spine centers and got the same answer. If anyone can help with some info that might help I would be so grateful. Living in pain every day has taken my life away. If I had the $5.000 I would pay and get on with it can not take this life I am left with any longer. Any help would be great. Thanks
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
spinal & hip surgery
Amount: $0.00 not covered by insurance
Posted by: Debbie Paryzer in Greenwood, SC.Posted: November 25th, 2013 08:11AM
Surgeon: Dr. HawkinsMedical Center: Greenville Medical Center
I was in an accident. I am also a medical professional with over 20 yr.'s experience, as an Occupational Therapist, both treating rehab patients, and created a 21-inpatient department for a major hospital in Bucks County, PA. I treated people like I am now. I also have a Degenerative Avascular Necrosis of the Left hip. I have MRI's , and have seen people at Greenville, SC., Medical Center who say it is small. I don't believe a necrosis is small. It will grow. Necrosis always do, and destroy my left hip given time. I don't believe that necrosis don't just go away. They eat away your insides. That is why they are called NECROSIS. I need help. I am in Greenwood, SC. I have a son age 21 who suffers with me. I also have fractures at at L3 & L4, a building disc in the thoracic. I have not taken any pain killers, as I am allergic , and have a reaction to pain meds. I live in PAIN!!!
Please be honest and tell me the truth. Is there anything you can do to help me.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Amount: $0.00 not covered by insurance
Posted by: Kidd in Logan, UT.Posted: February 16th, 2013 08:02AM
Surgeon: He does not careMedical Center: Laser spine institute
The laser spine institute called me to see if I had insurance. I have VA coverage and said I would like the free consultation you advertise. If I'm suitable for surgery, the VA might pay for it...I never heard from them again...that's an indication to me that money over caring is their first priority. not good.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
Laser Sprine Surgery
Amount: $4,000.00 not covered by insurance
Posted by: hoosierdad in Jeffersonville, IN.Posted: December 26th, 2012 01:12PM
Surgeon: Robert BlokMedical Center: Clark County Indiana Hospital
Had laser surgery on my L5-S1 which was herniated and fragmented. Went from being unable to stand long enough to brush my teeth to walking around the block the day after surgery. Would recommend my surgeon to anyone, and in fact, an elderly lady had the same surgery by Dr. Blok and achieved remarkable results.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam


Comment On Your Experience With Laser Spine Surgery
Subject:  *
Amount Spent:  * not covered by insurance
Surgeon: Medical Center: 
Purchased:  Year: 
City:  * State:  *
Information about you:
Email:  * Email addresses are not displayed.
Name:  This is the name we'll display with your post.
me on this computer
*=required field.

External Resources:
More Health & Personal Care Topics
Check Out All Costs for Health & Personal Care How Much Do Braces Cost? How Much Does Hip Replacement Cost? How Much Does a Mammogram Cost?

Search Thousands of Topics on

Today's Featured Cost Articles

About CostHelper
CostHelper is based in Silicon Valley and provides consumers with unbiased price information about thousands of goods and services. Our writers are experienced journalists who adhere to our strict editorial ethics policy.

CostHelper Community
UTI urgent care visit
Paid: 147.00
Visit was $135. Antibiotics was $12. Waiting for four hours in the waiting room and the visit was quick... [more]
Urinary Tract Infection Treatment Cost
Spanish Medical Interpreter
Paid: 150.00
I worked with SynShyne Services out of Monroe, NC. They were so worth the price! Professional, friendly, accurate, great attitude and always on time. I recieved an itemized report after every contact and a user friendly invoice weekly... [more]
-Gregory Richardson
Interpreter Cost
Paid: 495.00
This is how much I am paying... [more]
-Calista Christian
Dental Admission Test Cost
Paid: 48.00
... [more]
-Not that BB
Shingles Vaccine Cost
Skin prick allergy test
Paid: 573.00
Took my 9 yr. old in after an allergic reaction to eggs. Several panels for nuts, fish & top 8 allergens. Sure enough, egg came up. Got a script for epinephrine and left... [more]
-D’s mom
Allergy Testing Cost
Estimate for Teeth Cleaning Cat
Paid: 0.00
13 year old cat …teeth extractions, X-rays, blood work, anesthetic, cleaning estimate 2 to 3 thousand... [more]
Cat Teeth Cleaning Cost