Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Low back laser surgeons in Northeast?

Sailor 50SSailor 50 Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

Please read the longer version of this post vs. the trimmed. It's only two minutes reading, tops.
I’m new to the forum but have done some on-line research. I’ve had back pain for 27 years and sciatica for 22. The last 3 years the sciatica and back pain have become unbearable to the point of losing my job and collecting SSDI. I’ve seen many doctors trying to get some relief. They’ve all told me the same thing. “Take Ibuprofen and go to PT.” I’ve tried both of those and chiropractics to no avail.

I went to a pain management specialist 1.5 years ago and he helped me a lot. I’ve had several MRI’s done and they show severe lower scoliosis, marked stenosis, disk herniation, degeneration and bulging. I also had a spec scan done and my facets are in bad shape. He’s given me 9 cortisone injections to the low back and two to the neck. They got rid of much of the sciatica, although it always pops up in a different place later. The injections also improved my range of motion.

Now my major problem is that I can’t walk more than 50 yards before having to sit down in severe pain. I suspect that’s from the stenosis.

I saw a neurologist regarding a laminectomy, as suggested by my pm doctor. He told me I need a spinal fusion from my neck to lower spine. He said the odds are that it would fail so he’s not doing it. Basically he told me, in a nutshell, that it’s something I have to live with.
I’m only 50 and can’t live like this the rest of my life. The narcotics no longer work and my doc refuses to give me an increase. I’m on 90mg/day oxycodone and 32ml/hr of the fentanyl patch.

I was talking with the Laser Spine Institute. After one of their docs looked at some radiologists reports of MRI’s, they told me they could fix everything. I was shocked to find out they won’t deal with my insurance company (Tricare). I was told that they don’t except most insurance as they don’t pay enough.

I would like to talk with another laser surgery clinic or any doctor that does laser back surgery. I live in Maine and have made many phone calls and spent many hours Googling but can’t find anyone else in the northeast, except a man in NYC, whom I’ve read too many horrible posts about.

If anyone knows any laser surgeons in the northeast would you please let me know. Also, if you know of anything I can take to make these narcotics relieve pain again, it would be appreciated.



  • Hello Dave,

    I'm so sorry to hear all the pain you are in!! You are in the right place starting here..People here are very nice and very supportive..No one knows what back pain is like but our Spiney Friends do!

    You should check out Boston!!!! New England Baptist Hospital!!! They are the home of the Boston Celtics ect. There an Orthopedic Hospital #1 in the Country..


    spondylolisthesis at L4-5; stenosis,
    Lumbar surgeries 1999 L4-L5
    Lumbar staph infection 1999-2000"
    Meningitis x5 in 1999-2001
    Brain shunt 2000"
    Brain shunt removed 20001"
    ALIF/PLIF fusion 8/5/09
    Failed fusion and Failed Hardware
    PLIF Fusion scheduled for 10/29/10
  • ;)) Thanks Maria. I will definitely check out New England Baptist Hospital. Right now, in fact.
  • Hope things work out for you! I know they are helping me there...

  • I'd be a little weary if a major insurance company won't deal with LSI. Furthermore, I understand that some of their surgeons aren't neurosurgeons etc. I would look very closely at their credentials. They market themselves wayyy too much for me to consider them. If you get a chance use search (google) terms "scam, "fradulent" etc. with their business name and see what you get.


  • BB,

    Were you a running back for OH State?

    I know where you're coming from regarding LSI. The actually have sales people. My insurance is really U.S. Family Health Plan, which is under the umbrella of Tricare. I put Tricare because most people wouldn't have heard of USFHP, formerly called Uniformed Services Family Health Plan.

    LSI is telling me that they only deal with two insurance companies because insurance companies rates aren't high enough for what they're charges are. Since I live in Maine, USFHP will only allow me to be treated in Maine. I can switch to Tricare and be treated across the country. Since I'm on SSDI, also get Medicare. Maybe if Tricare won't pay for it, Medicare will. The search continues...

    In a perfect world I'd love to find someone that does the laser surgeries for backs in the northeast who doesn't advertise. I would bet they would take my insurance, once I switched to Tricare.

    I'm not giving up. I'm going to meet with more neurosurgeons and get more opinions. I'm going insane spending my life on a couch after being fairly athletic my whole life and relying on those endorphins flowing daily to sustain good mental health.

    Take Care and thanks again.
  • Hi,

    I am not familiar with this 'laser surgery'. I'll have to read up on it. If insurance companies won't pay enough, I would really call your insurance company and find out why. I suspect there's another side. Why? Because typically, a reputable procedure and group will work out a financial agreement out of network with the insurance companies. I had surgery with a surgeon out of network and he was willing to accept the payment from my insurance company as out of network and then he & I negotiated a rate (which was basically not costing me more than my in network).

    Anyhow, that being said...have you contacted the eCleveland Clinic to see if they can recommend a group in the NE? What about Hospital for Special Surgeries?

    I would contact your insurance company and ask them to recommend someone IN network too.

    Sounds like there is hope for you which is great.
    Remember, once your back is impaired, I would really question what they mean by "they can cure you". I guess I've become a skeptic in regards to the lower back. I always ask them to quantify "curing me" so I understand what expectation I should have.

    I am quite interested so please keep us posted on how you progress!
  • Sorry to disappoint you, Sailor, but a couple of years ago I attended a talk given by an orthopedic spine surgeon who, in response to an attendee's question about the efficacy of laser surgery, spoke of a spine surgery journal article about it which mentioned a survey taken of 20 orthos nationwide. You want to know how many of them would recommend it? Not one! As an aside, the lecturer said something about the one thing LSI (and other laser places) is good at is marketing.

    I sure hope you can get the kind of help you need in Maine (insurance companies can be a pain).
  • I must say this is very strange what your orthopedic surgeon said.

    Laser spine surgery is around us for 24 years already. When I indicated (main indication is smaller herniation, protrusion or bulge) success rate is aroun 90% worldwide.

    There has been reported application of laser for degenerated discs, erectile dysfunction, spinal stenosis ,cauda equina syndrome, extruded disc, etc. In this condition, there is a chance laser will help. Positive is that laser do not cause any damage when used properly.

    Laser is a great step before any other invasive treatment !
  • I don't know anything about laser spine sugery, but I'd be very cautious about any facility that doesn't accept insurance.

    I'd want to be sure it's not the other way around, ie insurance companies won't accept the facility.

    There is a reason for that.
  • I will worry about the insurance end later. For now I'm just trying to find a laser surgeon that's not a quack.

    LSI does take two insurances, Blue Cross and another that I can't remember the name of. I know where you're coming from though. A good insurance company wouldn't want to dish out money for procedures that don't work. The fact that they take Blue Cross makes me think that they've had success. I know people blast them on-line but they've treated 27,000 people so you're going to have some that aren't happy with the results.

    Thanks for all the input.
  • Please also be aware that their title is "Laser spine institute". Laser is one of the tools used in their procedures.

    Main tool they use is endoscope with a camera. Laser is only an addition to their procedures (when speaking about LSI).
  • Keano,

    What is so strange about what my neurosurgeon said?

  • It's quicker to abbreviate. What's your point?
  • I hope you don't mind me asking, but why does it have to be laser?
    I'm just curious, that's all. I haven't seen someone specifically request laser procedures for their spine in some time.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Sailor 50 said:
    It's quicker to abbreviate. What's your point?
    There is much confusion about minimally-invasive spine surgery, and my point is purely a patient informing and education.

    As for your previous question about "neurosurgeon comment". Please read my post again, I have not referred to your post but to essmoe29's !
  • Don't mind at all. I just saw a neurosurgeon and he told me that my entire back is so messed up that the only hope is a spinal fusion the entire length of the back. He said "I'm not doing it because it will likely fail".

    I sent a spinal surgery clinic that uses endoscopes and lasers radiologists reports from 5 MRI's and a spec scan. One of their doctor's read them and claimed they could help me out a lot. He said it would be outpaitient surgery and would take about two hours. I can't afford them though, unless I cash out an IRA, which I'm not doing until I've exhausted my search for someone who does similar surgery that will take my insurance.

    I have an appt. with a different neurosurgeon for a seond opinion. I'm also trying to find an orthopedic surgeon that does back surgery as he may look at it from a different angle.

    Take care,
  • Wow, that guy was a brick wall, wasn't he? I do appreciate his honesty tho.
    I truly believe there is a solution out there somewhere for you my friend. Just a matter of finding it. Don't let one guy dictate the rest of your life for you.

    btw, in addition to lasers, they can use water now too! A tiny little "J" shaped spigot at the end of an endoscope is inserted into the herniated nucleus material and water is shot out under high pressure. The blast of water takes away the herniated disc material.

    Let us know how it goes and what the other surgeons opine. Best wishes and good luck.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Yeah,

    At least that surgeon was honest and denied the money he could have made off me.

    Have you researched the water thing?

    What is you opinion?

    It's damned amazing that no surgeons keep up with this type of stuff. They use the same techniques that have been used since the turn of the century except their equipment is more modern. Med. school textbooks are ultra conservative when it comes to updataining their text.

    I've asked three doctors about endoscopic laser surgeries on the spine and none of them had ever heard of it. Two of then work on backs all the time.

    Don't they read their monthly med. professional magazines or on-line newsletters. Just venting as this is frustrating.

    Thanks for your assistance. Did you get back surgery?

    Take care.
  • shenoi.preetishshenoi.preetish Posts: 1
    edited 06/29/2014 - 9:50 PM
    Checkout, with the advent of the most advanced techniques, there has been a high success rate of spine surgeries for even complex spinal disorders.
Sign In or Register to comment.