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Discogram...wierd outcome

SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had the discogram on Thursday the 19th. They were to look at L2-3 and L3-4. Right after the discogram we went to get the CT. Thursday night I got a call from the doctor, at home, at 9:00 saying he just got a call from the radiologist. My stainless steel hardware from 1993 must have shadowed my L3-4 disc so the PM doc got the L1-2 and L2-3. So Monday I do it again and he'll aim for the L3-4. I will say he was very apologetic and they'll cover my co-pays. The PM doc gave me his personal cell phone number to call anytime. So Friday when the CT place called me to say I missed my Friday CT I had to call him to say "they thought it was today". He had his staff straighten it out so the CT is scheduled for immediately following the discogram tomorrow.

My brother says I should be more upset. But I think of it this way....I will get class A service from the PM office now and going forward. And, since my husband was laid off and I'm on disability it's not disruptive to our daily schedule to do it again. And it's not costing any more.

Discogram, encore, tomorrow :-)
2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 


  • Well, at least they're taking care of the additional expense. My discogram was pretty painful -- at least the part in the middle where they woke me up to find out which ones hurt -- so I wouldn't want to do it again. It wasn't to bad afterward though.

    I hope they get it right tomorrow and I hope they do pay attention when you're around from here on out. What a fiasco!

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Hi Linda, I was just wondering if your tingling and numbness symptoms are diminishing? Do you think the fusion was successful? I hope it was. :)

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  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    The discogram on the 19th was painful for nearly 48 hours after. Yesterday's was not painful after the actual test. Just a bit of an ache until last night.

    The worst part was yesterday's was done at 2:00 and with the versed and fentanyl I went home and slept. Then woke up at 8 pm and was up until the wee hours of the morning and back up at 6 am. This is why I always try to be the first one of the day - the discogram last week was at 8 am so I napped until noon and then was back on a normal sleep schedule by that night!

    I see the surgeon 12-1 and will know what the plan is by then. So anxious to figure out what/when will do anything.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I will be thinking of you - make sure you post your outcome - the discogram was such a turning point for me.

    Do you have any feelings about it? Did they reproduce your pain in the test?
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    They did reproduce my symptoms. Now I wait to see what the surgeon wants to do. I hope he'll agree that surgery is needed, I am miserable and can just tell my spine has some instability.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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  • I am a 62 year old school teacher who recently had a Discogram on my lumbar spine. I made it through the procedure o.k., but one of my legs felt weak for a few days, then felt achey mostly while sleeping. The surgeon said that it probably wasn't from the discogram because I would have had the pain right away. I did have two "10's" on the surgery table. The hospital billed my insurance company $38,000 for the hospital services. I already paid around $3,000 to the independent spine surgeon. I can't believe it could cost that much. I asked for an itemized list and they mailed me itemized cost list. For example one pack minor lap was $5,479; one vial of dexmedetomidine 200 mcg inj was $493.00. The operating room services was $14,417.00 The list goes on and on. I walked out two hours later with four band-Aids. Does anyone know if the hospital has billed excessively??? I am afraid to go ahead and get the discectomy my spine surgeon thinks we should do. I do have insurance but have to pay 10% of the bill, plus 30% for the surgeon (out of network). Please tell me if you think I have been billed astronomically.
  • I would think it sounds excessive.

    My discogram was just over 5,000. But I was at a clinic/diagnostic center, not the hospital. My surgeon was not the dr. doing it either. It was someone who just worked out of this 'interventional radiology center'.

    Talk to your insurance company - they should have a better idea and also a vested interest in ferreting out any overcharges.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    If your discogram was done in an operating room and utilized an anesthesiologist it is possible the fee would be legitimate. Mine was done in the office of the Pain Management physician in his treatment suite with only he and his nurse so it cost much less.

    Also keep in mind the billed amount is not the actual amount. For example, if your insurance company has a contract with the hospital and the hospital bills $8000 for use of the operating room the actual negotiated rate may be $4000. Hospital bills vs what insurance has negotiated vary widely. For each bill after your insurance processes it you should get an EOB (Explanation of Benefits) which will show you the (1) amount billed (2) amount allowed under contract (3) insurance responsibility amount and (4) patient responsibility amount.

    With your insurance, keep in mind that there will be a cap on what you pay. Get a copy of your exact plan and it will lay out for you the out-of-pocket maximum. I have a plan where I pay 20% and what they do is on each bill they bill me 20%. So if a bill is $100 I pay $20. This accumulates until I reach my out of pocket maximum.

    Also keep in mind that most insurance plans start over on 1/1 of each year. So if you met your 2009 deductible you likely now have to start over from scratch in paying your deductible and accumulating toward the 2010 out of pocket max.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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