Does Medicare Cover Laser Back Surgery?
Good news for seniors who have put off treating neck or back pain because of cost: Physician Partners of America is one of the few healthcare providers that accepts Medicare for minimally invasive laser spine procedures.
These procedures typically cost patients thousands of dollars without Medicare or insurance coverage.
With most laser spine surgeries, the surgeon and the surgical facility are billed separately. Physician Partners of America accepts traditional Medicare for both the physician and the facility, allowing the procedure to be become more affordable for Medicare patients.
“No one should be forced to live with excruciating pain because they can’t afford surgical intervention,” said James St. Louis, D.O., MS, director of PPOA’s Minimally Invasive Laser Spine Group. “We are pleased to be able to make this life-changing option to our patients very affordable.”
Laser spine surgery performed by experts
Dr. St. Louis, the surgical founder of Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, Fla., joined PPOA in January. Phillip Kravetz, M.D., another pioneer in the field, will perform these procedures in Texas.
Minimally invasive laser spine procedures are fast becoming the gold standard for addressing severe spine-related pain. Minimally invasive refers to the small incision (less than one inch) and tiny instruments used to perform a procedure. Narrow dilation tubes are fed through the incision to spread the muscles surrounding the back. In contrast, traditional open back surgery uses a five- to six-inch incision. Through this a surgeon must cut and tear muscles to reach the spine.
The laser is mainly used for ablations and disc work.
Laser spine surgery isn’t the only way PPOA ensures a good patient outcome. Its surgeons also use intraoperative neuromonitoring to further ensure safety of the patient’s neural system during the operation. IONM can “see” what neither the doctor nor the fluoroscopy (live x-ray) machine can, and it helps avoid accidental injury.
The methods used in PPOA’s minimally invasive laser spine surgery allow for a totally outpatient procedure. Most patients are able to walk out of the surgery center the same day, and resume activities in days or weeks, as opposed to months with traditional surgery.
Life changing procedures
Patients who have had this procedure at Physician Partners of America call it nothing short of a miracle.
“I couldn’t walk. I could hardly leave my couch, couldn’t bend over to pick anything up without pain, said Medicare patient Laura Wall, 63, of Sun City Center, Fla. Since she’s had laser spine surgery by Dr. St. Louis, “I can swim and walk and do everything I want. Looking forward to working out. It’s the best move I’ve ever made. I’m very satisfied. More than satisfied.”
Patients can make an appointment with Dr. Kravetz at 817-576-0885, or reach Dr. St. Louis by calling 855-25-LASER.
Laser Spine Surgery "Quick Answers"
A: Laser Spine Surgery is covered by Medicare if the surgeon and the facility where the surgery is performed are both in network with Medicare.
A: Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery is covered by Medicare if the surgeon and the facility where the surgery is performed are both in network with Medicare. You can expect to contribute to part of the costs as you would with most surgical procedures covered by Medicare.