There are many capable spine surgeons who may be able to provide relief for patients in major cities like Los Angeles. For patients living in parts of the world without the same resources though, access to quality care may be limited, especially when it comes to highly specialized procedures. This is one of several reasons why some patients choose to travel for spine surgery.
No Success with Local Treatments
Before even considering traveling for surgery, most patients will have seen several local doctors and maybe a few specialists in their area. If the recommended treatments aren’t successful, the options left tend to require more expertise, which may not be readily accessible in some locations.
Lack of High Quality Facilities
Spine surgery is a delicate process that requires both skill and access to advanced technology. Even if a local doctor or spine surgeon determines that surgery is the most likely path to relief, there are only so many facilities where highly complex procedures can be performed. Cities with a close proximity to well-respected research facilities also tend to offer more options for patients.
Long Waiting Lists
Some spine specialists are centrally located in order to be accessible to as many patients as possible. This kind of setup sometimes results in long waiting lists for patients with back pain not considered an urgent medical issue. When quality of life is being seriously affected, patients may look elsewhere for relief.
Costs Too High Locally
The cost of spine surgery can easily exceed $100,000, with a cervical fusion averaging $112,000 and a lumbar fusion sometimes getting close to $200,000 in total costs. In areas where spine surgery costs are exceedingly high, it may be more cost-effective for patients to travel to cities like Los Angeles where costs may not so excessive for some procedures.
Planning for travel for spine surgery extends beyond making flight arrangements. Patients should also consider where they will be staying during their recovery after their initial hospital stay, which is often just a few days. With many spine procedures, travel isn’t a safe option for several weeks or months after surgery.
To learn more about effective spine treatments, reach out to leading Los Angeles spine surgery center, The Spine Institute Center. Medical Director, Dr. Hyun Bae, can help diagnose the source of your pain and provide all applicable options for treatment. Schedule a consultation by calling (310) 828-7757 today.