What About Laser Spine Surgery?

By David J. Stewart | September 2011

       In my humble, non-qualified, opinion Laser Spine Surgery is a racket, a scam. I contacted the Laser Spine Institute (LSI) in December of 2010. After 10 long months of going in paperwork circles I come to find out that BlueCross won't pay a penny for their type of surgery. That speaks volumes right there. BlueCross won't pay?

Then they told me that Medicare will pay 80% of the surgeon's fee, which is $5,000. But get this, LSI told me that their facility fee is $17,000 and Medicare won't pay a penny of it. I knew something was wrong with the whole picture right there. Then want $17,000 in cash, plus 20% co-payment of the surgeon's that Medicare doesn't pay (which is another $1,000). So all total, I'd have to pay LSI $18,000 cash and Medicare would pay $4,000 (this is what LSI told me in September of 2011).

Who charges $17,000 for a facility fee (which I was told includes the facility, equipment and nurses) for a 3-4 hour procedure? You'd think it would be the other way around, that is, that the surgeon would get the $17,000 and the facility fee would only be $5,000.

In my OPINION, and this is just my opinion, LSI deliberately uses the excuse of an exorbitant facility fee because THEY KNOW that insurance companies won't pay anyway. They want the cash. Where are the medical journals and testimonies of their wonderful new procedure? Why are patients with complications told to go elsewhere after surgery? All of these things are alarming.

I have suffered so much (my full story to follow if you are interested) with ongoing toothache-like agonizing neck pain and ripping stiffness in the back of my neck. After two conventional failed surgeries in 2009 and 2010 I have been seriously looking at getting Laser Spine surgery, but after reading the following and other internet posts I am very leery. I have been in contact with LSI for about 9-months now, and can say at this point that they have really pushed for CASH UPFRONT. That bothers me immensely because I've told them that I have Blue Cross and Medicare, but they want CASH. Something is wrong with any medical clinic that relies on cash, cash, cash.

I can't believe some of the things that I am reading. I know you can't believe everything you read, but you'd be a fool not to believe common sense. The following post I found on the internet makes common sense.

I am especially concerned that numerous people are reporting that the Laser Spine Institute doesn't take care of complications. That is weird. Neither do they allow patients to stay at the surgical center if anything goes wrong. It just seems like a storefront operation in a shopping mall, like Dr. Schiffer in California. And also, if Laser Spine Surgery is so great and effective, why aren't there any published medical journals or write-ups? Why the secrecy?

I am a board certified, fellowship trained pain specialist and the majority of my care involves spinal pain. I closely follow the literature and have a front row seat for the circus of confusing choices that confront individuals with back and neck problems. 40% of my patients come into my office at one time or another clutching advertisements from the "Laser Spine Institute". I assure you, this organization is a marketing front offering care that could be covered by insurance by more skilled and reputable specialists). Those of us offering therapies which have been studied in peer supported literature laugh about LSI. Nobody knows the surgeons because they are NOT well known in their fields. They've never published anything at all and they had no presence at the most recent meeting of the North American Spine Society which is probably the largest gathering of spine specialists in the world. Why aren't they sharing these highly effective "laser" therapies with other physicians. The reason is they are offering nothing exceptional with their treatments. Rather, they are preying on the desperate, convincing them through slick advertising and polished presentation that they are superlative. They don't take care of their complications? And they don't offer spinal fusion for the patients in whom they may likely generate spinal instability? This should be worrisome to all. There will always be anecdotal cases of remarkable improvements following any treatment in which an individual has invested so much hope and money, but the long term results will be poor. I have seen this first hand. We may never know since this group isn't publishing any data. Shame on this organization for taking advantage of people in this fashion. Their victims are human beings in need of good care by well intentioned, responsible, ethical physicians. Back and neck pain can certainly be very complicated to treat and frustrating to the patients, but seeking out a "fix" or "cure" from these folks is NOT a good choice. Don't do it!

SOURCE: The Laser Spine Institute - A Real Business or A Real Scam?

Before I tell you why I have decided against Laser Spine surgery, let me tell you my short story. I've suffer from constant pain and stiffness in my neck since march of 2004. The pain literally began overnight, while using my head as leverage to turn my body in my sleep. I felt a hot flash in back of my neck and woke up the next day with chronic toothache-like pain in back of my neck, which I've had to this day 24/7 without one moment of relief. I had suffered SEVER whiplash back in 1992 when my vehicle was rear-ended by a bus, which threw my neck out of whack. 12-years later it was just a matter of time before I was diagnosed with Cervical Degenerative Disk Disease (which basically means your neck is falling apart... bones spurs, herniated disks, protruding disks, cervical osteo-arthritis, et cetera).

I've have had two neck surgeries, using the conventional means. The first surgery in 2009 was an ACDF (Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion) at C5-C6-C7, which did nothing to make me better. Six months after the surgery I started having increasing radiating pain down my right arm and leg. An MRI showed that Cedars-Sinai Hospital did the bare minimum and didn't do the surgery correctly. California's Medical Board blew me off and didn't care, delaying and ignoring my complaint, protecting Cedars (a Jewish owned hospital). I gave up. Cedars brags about having the lowest down-time after surgery. Yeah, because they throw patients out the door who aren't ready to be discharged. I was still bleeding from where my catheter was removed, was dizzy, felt stabbing pain in my chest, and told them I wasn't ready to leave. I was literally shoved into a taxi-cab and left to die. I ended up back in the Emergency Room that night. Cedars is bad news!

They also did the bare minimum on my neck, failing to remove a bone spur (causing spinal stenosis) where they did surgery. By doing the bare-minimum it greatly reduces Cedar-Sinai's risk of any complications. That's how they selfishly keep their statistics high; it's numbers over patients! They left the bone spur in my neck when they could have repaired it. The surgeon was from India, which in my opinion is nothing more than cheap outsourced labor. If you're rich and Jewish, then you get a skilled Caucasian doctor. Refuse their minimal-skilled, welfare doctors from India and Pakistan!!!

So I saw another conventional neurosurgeon in2010 who revised my first surgery, this time doing a hip graft on my left hip, putting the bone into my neck. This guy was also from India, but working independently of any hospital. I was told it would be next to impossible to find a neurosurgeon who would help me since I was post-op (i.e., I already had surgery). That scared me and I jumped at the first surgery I could find who was willing to help me. He had 15-years experience and all positive remarks. Still, I regret not having a Caucasian doctor. I'm not prejudiced, but I am convinced that the flood of surgeons in America from India is a form of outsourced surgery. I've since read horror stories about people who've died at the hands of inexperienced foreign doctors working here in America.

What has happened to our nation? Just in California alone, over 84 hospitals have been forced into bankruptcy because of the flood of illegal immigrants from Mexico. Thus, it has forced hospitals to seek cheap labor amongst surgeons from India. You and I suffer as guinea pigs and so do our loved ones! Most surgeons are mere parts replacers, just like I used to see while working as a truck mechanic, lacking true diagnostic skills to identify and remedy a patient's cause of pain and suffering. I was much younger and paid hourly, helping the Journeyman mechanics in the shop who were paid $22 an hour. This is back in 1988. A journeyman mechanic is supposed to be the best of the best, a true skilled laborer. What a misnomer! Honestly, only one-out-of-ten mechanics really know their stuff (the same as doctors and surgeons in my humble and observative opinion).

Here's a perfect example of why I am leery of most surgeons. I used to work as a semi-skilled mechanic after graduating from Lincoln Technical Institute in 1987. I saw a truck towed into our shop one day for repair. The drive-shaft had fallen out in the street. A journeyman mechanic replaced the u-joints and the driver took his truck to be on his way. A couple weeks later the same truck was towed in again with the same problem (i.e., the u-joints went bad again and the drive shaft fell out in the street again). But this time before falling out, the wildly rotating drive shaft did some major structural damage to the truck's frame (a steel plate needed to be welded where the damage was done). It's fortunate that no one was killed in a passing car or a pedestrian walking along the sidewalk. So another mechanic replaced the u-joints and the customer went on his merry but frustrated way again. A couple weeks later the same truck was towed-in with the same exact problem, that is, the drive-shaft fell out in the street again (now for the 3rd time). My boss gave the repair ticket to a mechanic that was know to have good diagnostic skills, but we only had 2 men out of 20 who had such skills. But they were all journeyman mechanics and all got paid the same pay. Not very fair huh? That's hospitals today!!!

Anyway, this mechanic knew what he was doing. Why had the u-joints gone bad 3 times, eventually causing the drive-shaft to fall out into the street? By the way, the purpose of a u-joint is to provide a means of connecting two or more shafts together and to allow them to rotate at an angel. The third mechanic found that the truck had bad engine mounts (rubber blocks that the engine rests upon that are bolted to the frame). Since the engine vibrates, it cannot be bolted directly to the metal chassis or the driver's teeth would chatter out. The rubber blocks cushion the engine's vibration. But when the rubber mounts went bad over the years, it caused the engine to sag. Since the transmission is bolted to the engine it also sagged, thus changing the working angels of the u-joints. The excessive working angels caused the u-joints to prematurely go bad (within 2 weeks) and the drive-shaft broke apart at the u-joint areas. This was the true problem. So the mechanic replaced the worn engine mounts and the problem never resurfaced. The driver was happy, finally.

This is a perfect illustration of what goes on in the medical industry today. You can go through umpteen surgeons and still never be properly diagnosed. On my first surgery, the surgeon from India went in wearing horse-blinders, with his mindset on removing my disks at C5-C6-C7. He's a parts replacer, lacking true diagnostic skills. The second surgeon was no better, going in to remove the bone spur and do a hip graft; but I'm worse now then before. I have had absolutely NO RELIEF whatsoever since 2004 from my original symptoms of chronic toothache-like pain and very tight stiffness in the back of my neck.

No one knows what is wrong with my neck. A couple neurosurgeons just dismissed my ailments as cervical osteo-arthritis... next patient please! But how does that explain the chronic neck stiffness, and the problems occurring instantly during the night? Does osteo-arthritis start instantly with a hot flash? I mean, I know I had protruding disks at C5-C6-C7, which is likely what the hot flash was; but why didn't the pain and stiffness stop when the disks were removed? It's weird! Does osteo-arthritis causes severe stiffness in one's neck? I've yet to find one neurosurgeon out of 8 that can help me. No one knows. I am confident that there is a true surgeon, with genuine diagnostic skills in this world, who can help me; but I'll never find him going through the cheapskate insurance companies (and who can afford hundreds-of-thousands of dollars for  a surgeon?)

The 2nd surgery made me much worse, resulting in a puffed-up feeling in both arms that is now permanent. My right leg feels half asleep, much worse than before. I still have all of my original symptoms, which is agonizing chronic, toothache-like pain in my neck and horrible chronic stiffness in my neck (which feels like my neck is going to explode from the internal pressure. I have this pain and stiffness in my neck 24/7. I take 160 mg. daily of Oxycontin which has given me some of my life back (if you can call it that). I am suffering, not living; but the pain killers do help. I also



There are many destructive forces at work in America today, all intended to destabilize marriages, destroy the family unit and destroy our nation's sovereignty—Hellivision, the filth of Hollywood, the evils of Walt Disney, Rock 'N' Roll, the rebellion of Feminism, easy divorce, abortion, idolatry, corrupt Bibles, apostate churches, the deliberate trashing of our economy by the Banksters, the treasonous Federal Reserve System, the bogus lies of Evolution, et cetera.

Of all these evils, and hundreds more which are undermining American society, it's bizarre that some whacko experts want to add Lithium to our nation's water supply to prevent suicides.

Above: The Average American