Chronic back pain affects millions of people and is a leading cause of missed work, doctor’s visits, and an inability to enjoy activities and hobbies. If you’ve been diagnosed with a spine condition as the source of your chronic back pain, and conservative treatment options have been unable to provide lasting relief, a spinal cord stimulator may be able to help.
Spinal cord stimulators work by sending a gentle electrical current to the spinal cord, which disrupts the brain from interpreting pain signals. For people considering a procedure to implant this device, a very essential concern is the cost. While costs vary from patient to patient, there are a number of important considerations that go into determining the final cost.
Keep reading to learn more about the primary considerations that contribute to cost.
Many patients recommended for spinal cord stimulator surgery have fully explored
conservative treatment options, including medication, physical therapy, and steroid injections, without finding the relief necessary for a good quality of life. In other cases, spinal cord stimulators are recommended to patients who have undergone previous spine surgery that failed and do not want to undergo another procedure.
Spinal cord stimulator costs can vary widely, from little-or-no out-of-pocket costs for insured patients to costs in the tens of thousands of dollars for self-pay. If you are considering a spinal cord stimulator procedure and want to better understand how the cost of the procedure is calculated, learning about these factors can help.
Whether it is an employee-sponsored insurance plan, private insurance, or Medicare, most patients use some form of health insurance to pay for surgical procedures. In these situations, the insurance carrier, or payer, will negotiate the cost of the procedure with the provider. One of the biggest factors that can affect the cost of the procedure is whether or not the provider is in-network with the payer. In-network providers may have a more significant discount for procedures, resulting in a lower cost.
Another consideration is patients’ individual insurance plans. For example, plans with a high deductible will often result in the patient paying more out of pocket than those with a lower deductible or no deductible.
The procedure itself must also be covered and approved by the payer. Fortunately, spinal cord stimulators are often covered by insurance providers, including Medicare, if they are deemed a necessary part of treatment.
While patients without insurance will usually experience higher costs for spinal cord stimulator procedures, discounts can sometimes be negotiated with providers.
The type of surgical approach your doctor takes can have a significant effect on cost. For example, spinal cord stimulator procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis. An outpatient procedure in an ambulatory surgical center will be more cost-effective than a procedure in the hospital. Avoiding a lengthy hospital stay can greatly reduce the cost of receiving a spinal cord stimulator.
When it comes to stimulation therapy, there are multiple manufacturers and device models to choose from.
The primary types of devices include:
- Conventional implantable pulse generator — The most common type of device. It runs on batteries and usually lasts for a few years. Once the batteries die, a new surgery is required to replace the device.
- Rechargeable implantable pulse generator — Newer devices with rechargeable batteries. These devices allow for battery recharging without the need for additional surgery.
- Radiofrequency stimulator — This type of device has a battery pack outside the body and rechargeable batteries. It’s used less often than other types of devices.
Surgeons will generally select the device that is best for a patient’s individual health needs.
When considering a spinal cord stimulator, patients should also think about recovery time, the need for physical therapy, prescription medications, and other associated costs of rehabilitation.
It is also extremely important to think about the costs that can develop as a result of not undergoing a potentially beneficial treatment, including reduced quality of life, missed work, and the need for more extensive treatments down the road.
Spinal cord Stimulator Procedures at BEST Health System
At BEST Health System, our spinal cord stimulator procedures are performed on an outpatient basis at a state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center. We work with most major insurances, including private insurance, Medicare, workers’ compensation claims, and personal injury cases. To learn more about spinal cord stimulator cost, contact one of our friendly and caring representatives today.