laser spine institute in tampa

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graciey
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/19/2009 6:27 PM (GMT -7)   
hi my name is graciey. my husband was in a bad car accident 8 years ago. he has had pain since the accident and since it has gotten progressively worse. he has done the epideral steroid injections, nerve block, the radio frequency block. you name it and he had done it. over and over! in the last 4 months it had gotten to the point where he really couldnt walk well. couldnt stand up straight, etc, etc. all the doctors in here in florida he had seen said they could give him more pain meds or do a fusion. my aunt had a fusion and her pain is worse so that just was not an option. we recently bought an rv and the salesman said he had taken his sister to LSI about 5 years ago and she was pain free. my husband begged me to go online and see what i thought. they called me within 24 hours of submitting the info online. we had an mri sent over and they said they could help. his l4 and l5 were herniated.
 
anyway i go on here and a couple of other places online trying to find out more about them. i admit i was scared to death! my husband was determined to try it. i found a lot of negative write ups on the place and that scared me even worse. despite all of the bad info we scheduled the surgery. we went to tampa and they did his mri the first day and then met with a surgeon. he had his procedure the following day. it took 2 hours. they kept him in recovery for 1 hour. i was not allowed in there. when i saw him after he got out of recovery he was talking to dr prada. he turned to me and said "all of my leg pain is gone" and he smiled. i knew then we made the right decision. i have to tell you that the place is unlike any medical facility you will ever go to and EVERYONE is so extremely helpful. he had a lot of pain for a couple of days afterward. tomorrow is july 20th and that will mark 2 weeks since the surgery. HE HAS NO PAIN. they went in and removed bone spurs and a ligament that  was pressing on his nerve. they lasered off all the scar tissue that was on his joints causing irritation. they took the one bulge off of the l4. then they heated in up to shrink it back to the right size. the l5 had a tear. they sealed the tear and shrunk that disk to the right size as well. they did have to move a nerve to get to the disc so he had numbness in his leg for about 10 days. dr prada said it would go away in about 2 weeks. 
 
i am only 37 years old and so is my husband. we met people in that place from all over the country, and many people from canada.
the two men that had surgeries on the same day as my husband told me that they felt better as soon as they woke from their procedures minus the soreness of course. 
 
i know what it is like to feel helpless. and i told my husband on our way home that i way going to write on this wall so it might help someone else out. of course there is the money issue with this place. we did it over the 4th of july weekend.  because there was a lapse of a holiday weekend they couldnt book as many people. but since that was the case his procedure cost of $10,000.  we were skeptical about paying for it but now that the pain is gone. i was worth every penny. if ANYONE has any questions please feel free to ask. i know i wish i could have talked to a prior patient before we went.

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13451
   Posted 7/20/2009 12:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Graciey and welcome to Healing Well. From what you described about your husband's condition you both are very much aware of what chronic pain can do to a person. You will find this is a very different type of forum than most. Here we are pretty much all connected and a close knit group. We help each other out, offer as much as support as possible and share ideas and tips on different things. 
 
Yes, I am very much aware of LSI. I stumbled across their website one night and read about them from top to bottom lol. I too sat here and wondered how much of it was legit or crap. You and I both know a place like that sounds too good to be true and usually when thats the case it is too good to be true lol. I read all the testimonials but again, I did not buy it. So, I have a sister that lives in Tampa, so I asked her to check this place out for me. She has some pretty good connections with the medical community there and felt like she could come up with what I needed. I think this was about two years ago. My Sis has Lymes disease and as a result she has problems with her memory when she has a flare up. Well, I did ask her to get this info when she was in the middle of a flareup thats why I am sure she never got me the info. I am also thinking I read they opened up a facility in Arizona.
 
After his surgery did you all stay in Tampa for 5 days or so, so they could monitor him? I know they said from time to time, depending on the patient and their dx they may have to come back and have their surgery tweaked, kind of like a tune up. Will your hubby have to go back or do you know? If he had to return would you guys be out another $10,000?
 
I think they said they filed on some insurance plans but it was not many. Thats a problem for many of us, is coming up with that kind of cash. My thoughts were maybe over time they would accept more insurance plans and even Medicare.
 
I really believe the technology of what they are doing is going to be the cutting edge so to speak in years to come. Hopefully then, this will be something more and more facilities will be doing and it can be made more available to people. A very big issue here is the cash money involved. Its kind of like when arthroscopic surgery was introduced to the medical community where I live, there was one dr that was doing knees and shoulders that way.  He was actually laughed at by some of the top orthopedic surgeons here, and their opinion was he was opening himself up to being sued for medical malpractice lol. As it turned in less than two years these guys that laughed learned about this surgery and began doing them too lol. I think this technology is sort in that groove for now.
 
I do hope that you will continue to come here and post and let us know how your husband is progressing along with his surgery.
 
                                                                                                                                                                              
Straydog/Susie
Moderator Chronic Pain
 
crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & decreased circulation in both legs. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 16 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.


Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9622
   Posted 7/20/2009 3:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes, I've come across this website too and have wondered, but without insurance to cover it,
I will not be able to even try for it...I think it really could help me, but again it comes down to the money..
It'd be nice if they could or would do a few pro bono (free) cases, as it might actually enhance their
results and get their message out and maybe then insurance would cover it...but then isurance would say it's
too experimental....but would be nice to try.....
Got to keep hope, that someday insurance will cover it....
soft hugz and I hope your husband continues to improve, best of wishes...
(((((((((((((((((((((((HUGZ))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's and Ocular Migraines

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********


mrsm123
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 1228
   Posted 7/20/2009 12:21 PM (GMT -7)   
I looked into LSI back before my first surgery and did a lot of research into them. One of the things that concerned me was the amount of law suits filed by former patients against them. The not taking insurance was another. The cost factor was a huge one. Then there is the policy there that if you have more than one problem you must come back and have another separate procedure and you will get the "discounted price " of about 5, 000.00 less than what you paid originally. If something goes wrong after your first procedure, and it needs redoing, you also have to pay for that. I know of several other friends who have sent their MRI films down for the free consult, only to have to either fight to get their films back. or never getting them back at all, despite months of asking for them.
I know of 5 who went to LSI because of the promises they were made, who either came out worse than they were when they went there or have had to have another surgeon go back in and try to repair the damage done. Two were told that the laser causes more scar tissue than traditional surgery and because they burn the discs, that is causes more problems later on.
I am hoping that that won't be the case for the OP husband. I hope that he continues to be pain free for a long time to come and that he does not have to return to LSI or any other surgeon.
Sandi
PLIF/TLIF Fusion w/Instrumentation L4-5 Spondololysthesis L4-5.Laminectomies L4-5, foraminal stenosis L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, herniations L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, central canal stenosis L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1
POST OP CES 3/30-06
Neurogenic Bladder and Bowel, bilateral numbness legs and feet
Revision for failed Back surgery, pseudoarthrosis L4-5, hemilaminectomies L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, bmp added to revision fusion, replaced two bent screws that were reversing out of vertebrae - August 2, 2007
On going back pain and neuropathic pain, failed back surgery, consult for scs, decided not to do that at this point.
Adhesive Arachnoiditis also......just what I didn't need..9/08- adding bilateral ulnar neuropathy with severe compression to the mix. They want me to see a surgeon for ulnar nerve surgery, but I'm not biting.
I've seen enough surgeons over the last few years.
[url=http://dragcave.net/view/xdyP][img]http://dragcave.net/image/xdyP.gif[/img][/url]


straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13451
   Posted 7/20/2009 12:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Sandi thanks so much for posting what you did. I too had many, many reservation this is why I wanted my Sis to check the place out. I like you hope that Graciey's husband has nothing but success. For me its one of those just and see things and if its too good to be true it usually is.
Straydog/Susie
Moderator Chronic Pain
 
crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & decreased circulation in both legs. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 16 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.


graciey
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/20/2009 5:37 PM (GMT -7)   
well i hope you all are right. i hope he continues to be free of pain. i know of two people who have had procedures there. one was the sister of the sales guy we met. i personally called her and had talked to her before we went to lsi. she had herniated discs. similiar to my husband and she has been free of pain for 5 years. the other is a lady who lives not too far from us. she is an older lady(70's) she had the procedure 3 years ago and is pain free. she as well had herniated discs.
 
we never sent them an original mri. the imaging place simply faxed copies to them for us. we never had to send our original mri and the first day we went to lsi they did an mri and copied it to a disc. so we have our original plus the new one right before the surgery.
 
no defending lsi about the money thing. but i kind of understand. it is unfortunate but the insurance companies run our health care system.  i live in jacksonville fl so first of all with the blue cross blue shield insurance i have. i would have paid an initial $3500.00 as an out of network deductable. i called blue cross and they said if it he was to have a fusion the billed amount would be $30,000 to $40,000. i still would have to have paid about $8,000 to $9,000 after insurance paid there portiion. lsi bills the insurance companies about $30,000 so either way i would have paid the same.
 
we were just fortunate to have a lot of family who were all to help out. i did talk to a couple of older gentlemen that were there and they said that medicare does cover some of it. how much i have no idea.
 
and as for the two procedure thing. i did ask dr prada about that. he said that most of the time they limit how much work they do to limit bleeding. at first they didnt think they werent sure they could get the whole herniated disc because it was so large. so he did say that it might take a second time. but after it was over he said that it shrunk up just fine. they take pictures of the different things they do as they are doing them so then after the surgery you can actually see it as he is explaining it.
 
i know it sounds to good to be true. believe me after living with him and his pain all these years i didnt think it was possible for him not to hurt. i will keep posting and let everyone know if he does have pain later on. his biggest problem is that he hasnt used any of his back muscles in so many years and now he says it just gets tired. but we knew he was going to have to work on that.

graciey
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/20/2009 5:42 PM (GMT -7)   
i also found out that the entire cost of the surgery may used used as a tax write off.

BionicWoman
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 243
   Posted 7/20/2009 9:13 PM (GMT -7)   
What you actually pay for the procedure can be used as a tax right off. If you're on a payment plan, you can only write off the total of the payments you actually made during the tax year, not the entire cost of the procedure. Been there, done that, got the IRS burns to prove it. wink

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13451
   Posted 7/21/2009 12:08 AM (GMT -7)   
Graciey thanks so much for posting again. I do hope your hubby continues to improve and I think its great he is doing so well. Its always good to hear of people that are getting better it gives alot of hope to others.
Straydog/Susie
Moderator Chronic Pain
 
crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & decreased circulation in both legs. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 16 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.


mrsm123
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 1228
   Posted 7/21/2009 5:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Gracie,
I am glad that your husband is continuing to do well. I hope that it stays that way for a long time to come. I have no doubt that there are some patients that LSI has helped. Afterall, given the volume of patients that they see, they have to get it right sometimes. I don't mean that the way it sounds, but rather from a statistical point.
There is a forum out there for LSI patients and unfortunately, there are far too many negative outcomes posted there for my own taste.
It may be that because of all of the previous problems that LSI has cleaned up it's problems from before, but as far as I am aware, there are still too many negatives for me.
Money is a huge issue, but a bigger one is the lack of insurance companies that are willing to cover the costs from that particular place. Last time that I checked was probably in late 2007 or early 2008, but when I did, it was still considered "experimental" and unproven at that time. When one of my friends asked them for proof that their procedures weren't considered experimental so that she could provide it to her insurance to try to get coverage, they told her that they had done over 10 thousand procedures and that they considered their procedures non experimental. That was NOT the kind of proof that the insurance company wanted.
Things that a patient should consider when choosing a spine surgeon and that LSI does not have are BOARD certified SPINE Orthopedic or Neurosurgeons. Certification in Orthopedics is NOT the same thing as Board Certified Spine Surgeons.
Their doctors are not affiliated with any of the local hospitals, which means if something goes wrong, you are going to the hospital and going to find yourself with doctors who have no knowledge of you, whatsoever. You won't see anyone from LSI while you are in the hospital. The "Director" of the clinic, is a certified osteopath. He is also NOT board certified in spine surgery.
That scares me.
It is said that one of the reasons that patients have such immediate improvement post op is because they do a rhizotomy on the nerves. Those of us who have had them or had them proposed to us by our PM doctors know that at the best, it is a temporary "fix", eventually the nerves will grow back and most times, they are just as painful as before. Resulting in more of the rhizotomies later to keep the nerves burnt...
That also explains how they "shrink" the herniations. They simply burn the outside of the disc. If the disc is going to reherniate, it will, just in a different area of the disc. Removing the disc if it becomes neccessary, will make it far more difficult later if traditional surgery is chosen .
Anyway, that's just my opinion, and that's all it is. I hope that for your husband, he has nothing but continued ongoing painless healing.
Sandi
PLIF/TLIF Fusion w/Instrumentation L4-5 Spondololysthesis L4-5.Laminectomies L4-5, foraminal stenosis L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, herniations L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, central canal stenosis L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1
POST OP CES 3/30-06
Neurogenic Bladder and Bowel, bilateral numbness legs and feet
Revision for failed Back surgery, pseudoarthrosis L4-5, hemilaminectomies L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, bmp added to revision fusion, replaced two bent screws that were reversing out of vertebrae - August 2, 2007
On going back pain and neuropathic pain, failed back surgery, consult for scs, decided not to do that at this point.
Adhesive Arachnoiditis also......just what I didn't need..9/08- adding bilateral ulnar neuropathy with severe compression to the mix. They want me to see a surgeon for ulnar nerve surgery, but I'm not biting.
I've seen enough surgeons over the last few years.
[url=http://dragcave.net/view/xdyP][img]http://dragcave.net/image/xdyP.gif[/img][/url]


Herb2
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/12/2009 3:42 PM (GMT -7)   
I had a nightmare experience with Laser Spine Institute. Dr. Craig Wolff appeared impaired to me when he operated on my spine at LSI in February 2009. He tore my spinal cord (dura) causing spinal fluid to leak into my body cavity after operating on a level not indicated in the initial examination and surgery order. Sent me to a hotel room to recover. I am in unspeakable pain now. I wondered if Craig Wolff was under the influence when he practiced on me, so on a hunch, I looked up arrest records in Hillsborough County where he practices. Sure enough, he was arrested for driving under the influence about three weeks after my surgery. RUN - don't walk away.(while you still can) http://www.hcso.tampa.fl.us/pub/default.asp?/Online/qdisp/bn=09012378

graciey
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/12/2009 4:06 PM (GMT -7)   
 i am truly sorry to hear that! i guess i can thank God Dr Prada did my husbands surgery. he is doing great. i am truly sorry about that. how are you now?

Meatball
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/2/2009 1:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi.  I am interested in anyone who has had surgery at LSI.  My father is very interested in going to the new facility in Philadelphia.  Speaking with a few people at LSI, they make it sound like he is a candidate (don't know if everyone is a candidate).  I am very skeptial.  My father has been through a few back operations and neck fusions.  He can barely walk and he feels this will "solve" all of his problems.  The doctor in Philadelphia is Dr. Morris (came from the Florida facility).  Does anyone have anything they can share with me ... positive or negative???  I heard these doctors are not board certified SPINE orthopedic surgeons .... do you think they know what they are doing???  I hate for my father to go in and come out worse than he is.  Again, I would appreciate any comments on LSI.  Thank you.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 12/2/2009 1:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Meatball,
Welcome to the chronic pain forum of Healing Well. I don't have much time at the moment, but your father is probably feeling the desperation many of us feel when numerous procedures, surgeries, etc. don't work, and some of us reach out to try anything. Unfortunately, there are always some doctors out there willing to oblige. The fact that they're not Board Certified should answer your question. I would never let a neurosurgeon or orho surgeon (or any surgeon) who wasn't board certified touch me. And with all the surgeries your father has had, sadly, there likely is no one thing that will "solve" his problems.

You might read a lot of the posts here from many of us to get an idea of how great this forum is for those of us who do have to face dealing with and managing chronic pain. Your father would likely benefit from reading and maybe posting himself, if he's interested.

Again, welcome.

PaLady

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13451
   Posted 12/2/2009 1:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Meatball, I too would like to welcome you to Healing Well. I am very glad you found us and hope that you will read all the posts in this thread concerning LSI.
 
I have done some research on this facility and personally my gut feeling is it is "too good to be true".  as one of our other members pointed out in a post, they could not produce evidence that their type of surgeries were recongnized by the AMA for this person to submit to their insurance company. That is a big red flag. Just because they have done thousands of procedures that is not saying they are AMA approved. If an ins. company is not paying for their services that tells me there is a very good reason for not doing so. So many of their quick fixes iare the same procedures done by a pain mgt dr.  
 
Above all I would never consider letting a surgeon touch me unless he was "board certified". Let's face it, they do say some people may need future "tune ups", well when a person undergoes actual surgery you don't go in every so often for a "tune up".  I am way too leery of this group. If someone has been helped and I am so glad they were. 
 
Please talk to your family member about trying to pursue another avenue here. When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is just that. 
 
 


[color=blue>

<FONT>crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & psoriasis and psoratic arthritis. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 17 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.

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