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accurascope procedure at north american spine institute

Started by Don on 06/10/2010 6:01pm

Has anyone been there and how are they feeling since surgery?

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Don,
What have you tried for the Restless Legs? I lived with restless legs for years, managing to get no more than four or five hours of sleep per night on a good night. I spent a large portion of the night pacing the floor because I felt I needed to run a marathon at 3 a.m. My neurologist sent me to Mayo Clinic in Rochester for this and a couple of other problems. The neurologist at Mayo started me on Mirapex for the Restless Legs and it has been wonderful. I take it about 2 hours before I expect to go to bed. I believe the standard is to start the dosage low, and then increase it gradually. I started at .5mg per night, increasing to 1.5mg over a 3 month period.
As for the pain, I had hoped you would have some relief by now. After my accurascope it took two years for me to get to the point that I no longer needed pain medication. I do have foot drop as a result of the procedure, and I am currently wearing bilateral KAFOs, but the pain is now minimal and I am no longer on hydrocodone, lyrica or gabapentin. I have recently started another round of physical therapy at UT Southwestern in Dallas. Mostly to strengthen my core, and work on bringing my quads back to where they should be. I just can't say enough about how important physical therapy is in this whole process. I have had three rounds of PT since the accurascope.
My goal now is to one day walk without the aid of KAFOs. A cane I can tolerate, but in Texas heat who wants to wear leg braces all summer!!!!
Good Luck.
Ann

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Dear Don and others,
I became interested in this thread a while ago when I was researching MDs and deciding what to do following a car accident and having injuries in 6 discs (2 cervical, 1 thoracic, 3 lumbar). The worst injury was T9-10, an extrusion indenting the spinal cord (herniation). I decided on an endoscopic MD in NYC (I live in Roch, NY) - Jan 12, 2011. Few people suffer herniations in the thoracic area and very few surgeons are qualified to operate there, much less do it endoscopically (like the accurascope). Immediately, my L side wrap-around rib pain was gone as well as the year long nausea. He entered on the right side of the spine through a small window in my rib. I thought after the surgery that the intense R rib pain was related to that (like having a rib fracture and would end a few mos later). The R sided rib pain continued so a follow up MRI of the area was performed. I got the results last week and still waiting to talk to the surgeon. Being a nurse, I pushed to get the report myself. It shows a fluid filled sac pressing on the nerve as well as a sm to mod R side extrusion pressing on the thecal sac (herniation pressing on the spinal nerve). As you can imagine, my world fell apart. I have been medicating with tramadol alternately with ibuprofen/aleve (4-5x med/day). It is intense pain. Radiologist recommendation - aspirate the sac (could be serous, blood, or abcess). Per my PCP, I will have to surgeon to fix. He may have a different take on the MRI b/c he was waiting to look at the actual films himself. I will try to remember to come back and finish this story. I am not sure why there is still an extrusion. My initial extrusion was central and I had radicular pain affecting both ribs. So is this one new? developed after surgery? or did he not get it all out. He told me he took away 30% of my disc in the initial surgery. No pins or metal used. Small incision which healed fine. I have lots of questions for him and will try to report to you all, esp those trying to make the decision.

Don, I wish you were better. I am glad I did the surgery b/c the constant nausea caused by the irritated nerve is gone and the L side pain is gone. However, I was only taking pain meds at night and "dealing" with the #4-5 pain during the day prior to surgery. Now I MUST take the pain meds. At least it is non-narcotic. Have you tried tramadol? I used it in the past and helped my pain, but you CANNOT come off fast (I did and the side effect was restless leg- only occurred coming OFF the pain med, not while on). I haven't gotten the same feel from you that you were happy you had the surgery yet. It has been a rough road for us both.

To the others, do your research, but be advised that back surgery has NO guarentees no matter what anyone tells you. There are GREAT success stories out there. I researched months before picking my surgeon. He is good; his office staff STINK! It is very hard to communicate and get needed paperwork from them.

If you wish to talk to me, email me at homenet@frontiernet.net. I am not a doctor and cannot advise you. I can only relay my own story. I will give you this surgeon's name if you wish. I cannot recommend him 100% at this point however.

As to the other issues: cervical and lumbar? On the pain meds, they are silent. I did have several shots in those areas and was in pool therapy for the lumbar (helpful) and using chiro and neck traction (helpful). Will deal with them when the thoracic is settled down. Dealing with IMEs (Independent medical exams) from the insurance company and yes, I do have a lawyer. No court dates or settlement from the 2/27/10 MVA figured out yet.

Homenet (female, 53 yrs old)

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Everyone that is searching about North American Spine needs to look at this link:
http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/doctor-accused-of-lying-to-patients-hiding-assets--795899.html

There are 19 malpractice suits against the Medical Director of the Dayton, Ohio office two have been awarded they almost killed a patient she's basically a vegetable because they screwed up the meds they gave her. Her case was awarded $5Million in damages there and another patient was awarded about $2 Million in damages. The lead doctor Dr. Lawrence Rothstein is the one that is up on charges, he had previously had his medical license revoked for drug charges and he was reinstated in Ohio. He has now filed bankruptcy to avoid paying any of the lawsuits, none of them have malpratice insurance. The money accounts for both the Ohio and Texas facility is routed through the Caymen Islands so they show there's no money to pay the lawsuits.

I don't know how legally they can get away with staying in business! My own doctor's warned me to seriously dig and look into this before I paid out the usual $19,500 which for us we would need to borrow the money or re-mortgage the house to go. I guess its good that I found this site and the link to the article which was last summer. I'm depressed now because for me that was the only other option I had that would let me feel normal again and get on with my life. So everyone please stay away from these people and if you've had the surgery and are hurting more contact one of the law firms and see if you can be added to the mass claims against them.

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Well it has been another month almost since I last posted. I think I posted earlier in March. (See older homenet posts for the full story). I did do a surgery similar to the accuroscope surgery done by North American Spine. I did research them along with gobs of others before I chose my surgeon in NYU Med Ctr. I was leary of NAS b/c they said they could fix all 3 areas of my spine in a total of 9 days there! They would do the thoracic and lumbar together in one surgery and the cervical in another. Being an RN, this looked hokey to me. Also, their "surgeons" are not surgeons but pain anesthetists I believe (look that one up). My T9-10 was fixed Jan 13th. I still have inflammation in the area pressing on my R nerve causing R rib pain. I am using tramadol and thinking of starting or looking for posts about this med. I have been on it since the surgery and think I am addicted to it b/c of the physical things I feel trying to wean down. I am getting intercostal nerve blocks with deopmedrol both in T9 and T10 (tomorrow will be the second round) b/c of the pain as well. Overall I have improved, but there are still problems. I do hope I'll wean off meds and be myself soon. Thoracic discs are uncommon. I would so like to hear from anyone dealing with this.

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I am also looking for answers on the Accurascope DND procedure after watching it done on The Doctors TV show Febuary 24th this year. I have had 3 failed back surgeries and 17 years of chronic pain I want my life back and I am thinking of having the procedure done. I have rad the reviews on the page of North American Spine but I would realy like to hear from someone that had it done.
Please let us All know something, Thanks!

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Hi All,

I am considering NAS since last 3 months. I have a L4-L5 5mm herinated disc. I have had 2 epidural injections after realizing decompression wasn't going to work for me (paid 3K for 12 sessions). I live in the Houston area and if I do it at NAS, Dr. Alo would be the person performing the surgery. The names mentioned on this thread such as Dr. Reed I don't see their name on the NAS site.
I did get a second opinion from a spine doctor. His first comment was why isn't everyone else doing it if this procedure was so sucessful. When I asked the Dr. Alo that question he stated it was b/c most doctors don't want to take the time to learn something new. In a way it could be true b/c after my second epidural shot, the spine doctor who gave me the second opinion told me if I do get the surgery at NAS to let him know. I have a feeling I am his rat to be tested on and if I come out good he'll consider more time into it.
In my discussion with spine doctor, he mentioned a couple things I'd like to share. 1 - he said naturally our disc gets smaller over time. Therefore the pain would be gone over time. My uncle took epidural shots for his pinched nerver back in 1995. He took 3 shots and after that has never complained about any back pain. He was around 55 year old then. I am 37 and still have 20 years i think before my disc starts to shrink. 2- he said that disc is gone. there is nothing you can do to get it fixed. You will not and should not expect to be able to do jumping, hoping or skipping around on it like playing basketball or running. This is before or after any kind of surgery.

Overall I am confused. Its so hard to find reviews from NAS. Regarding open back surger or normal process they do for L4-L5 herinations I typically hear its not suggested. Like most on this board i have been sold by the NAS video. Logically it makes sense. What could go wrong? If they come down an natural opening and find the bad disc and laser it to dissolve it what could go wrong? They have the nerves hooked up to monitor it. Also, the Drs aren't surgeons, but they have been general surgery internships.

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This procedure is very dangerous and has ruined my life as well as many others. Danger, do not go to North American Spine. Please ask you GP or Orthopedic doctor. They will tell you to say away.

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This procedure is very dangerous and has ruined my life as well as many others. Danger, do not go to North American Spine. Please ask you GP or Orthopedic doctor. They will tell you to stay away.

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This procedure is very dangerous and has ruined my life as well as many others. Danger, do not go to North American Spine. Please ask you GP or Orthopedic doctor. They will tell you to stay away.

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Hi all,

I finally got surgery on my L4/L5. After the interview with NAS I have seen 3 neurologist who do back surgery and 1 orthopedic doctor who does spine surgery. All 3 spine surgeons did some type of minimal invasive surgery but nothing like the way NAS does it. I asked each of the 3 docs their thoughts on NAS approach. First thing they would say its not proven, second would be its a doctor who's not a surgeon...he's only a pain mgmt doctor. Its very hard to make sense out of what they said and what the video says. Even knowing what Don is going through, it just seems NAS is really the most easiest way to do this type of surgery. I only had a herinated disc/pinched nerve. But finally out of the 3 I went with the one that somone actually had the surgery with them. Dr. Rajesh Bindal in Sugarland Texas. He did a 1 inch cut and puts a microscope there and then pulls out the disc piece which is slipped and smooths out the disc. It took max of 45 mins. I had to be slapped to wake up from the surgery (this is my first ever surgery in my 37 years of life). After 5-10 mins of realizing its over, I was told to make a walk around the hall. Leg pain was gone. The stiches in the back are the ones that dissolve and eventually will disappear. I feel much better. Never took pain med after the 3rd day from surgery. I only took the meds b/c the lower back felt tight. the only test will be how I feel after 3 months. I am pleased to say leg pain is gone. I do know that I will never be the same and life will always have to be walked care now.

FYI I found another doctor who had the surgery at the below doctor and also minimally invasive, but they will not see anyone who is coming there due to a MVA (motor vehice accident). That's why I wasn't able to see them.
http://www.methodisthealth.com/body.cfm?xyzpdqabc=0&id=31&action=detail&ref=1997

Good luck in your search.

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I want to thank everyone who's taken the time to relate their experiences regarding the Accurascope procedure. I was days away from making my first payment for the procedure when I read this discussion. I've changed my mind about having the procedure. My parents gave me the phone number of a woman they know who had the Accurascope procedure. I spoke with her and she's very happy with her results. She had surgery in 2010 and is still doing fine. So, I thought, here's a real person with a good experience, I'll try the surgery. Like many of you, I've had back problems for 30 years with a spinal fusion, facet blocks, RF procedures, injections, etc., etc., etc. My spine surgeon is recommending another fusion, but I wanted something less invasive. I'm desperate and crazy with pain, so I thought I would try NAS. I could handle the procedure not working and "wasting" my money, but I can't handle getting worse. Both my spine surgeon and pain doc say they see many failed laser surgery patients. I'm finally believing them. It doesn't seem to be worth the risk for me.

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Kelly, have you gone through with the procedure at NAS? I am waiting for surgery date and the more I read the more unsure I become. I am down to the wire, and wondered if there was any further comment from Don as well. I can't stand the pain much longer, but on the other hand I don't want to make a decision that I will regret! The doctor I am scheduled with is Dr. Alo in Houston. Anyone? I need comments quickly please!

Procedure would include lumbar and cervical, but only laser-not the fusion recommended at this time.
Thanks!

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OMG! As a newbie to this site I would like to thank everyone who posted here. I am diagnosed with spinal stenosis (aggravated?) that has essentially progressed to a point of severe and chronic lateral pain through both shoulders, arms and hands. Swelling at elbows and knuckles with intermittant numbness in upper extremities and daily debiliating headaches.
After exhausting all other iinterventions (meds, PT, chiropractic, steroid injection,decompression, inversion, etc.), I was seriously considering the Laser Spine Institute where "surgeons" practice similar procedures. I have been trying to research and gather 3rd party review with little success except one site that started my skepticism leading me here which supports that skepticism.
I haven't read through all the posts here, but of those I have read, coupled with information reported on this company by the BBB, I am not willing to risk MORE PAIN, for the possibility that my current conditions may or may not improve.
Again thanks, and just a note about the BBB SITE INFO...although they rate the company an A-, note that the company is not BBB accredited and have 14 complaints to the BBB OF WHICH HALF ARE SERVICE RELATED.

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Well after 17 years of the chronic back pain and NO life I decided to go for the procedure in Texas, Dr Will did my surgery. The procedure was done on Oct. 4th 2011, and they removed a lot of scar tissue from my back...I actually went out to dinner that night after the surgery. I had about 2 good months after the procedure. I can't tell you that it was a complete success because I am still in a lot of pain with my SI joint but I can at least now sleep on my left side which I wasn't able to do for 17 years. I still have nerve damage in my left leg tingling and numbness which they told me they couldn't fix and most of my pain is in just one spot where the SI joint is on my left side. My problem is sitting, I can't find anything that doesn't make my back hurt to sit on. I haven't worn my back brace since I had the Accurascope done and I was living in it before so I can say it made a little difference because I do have some good days but I am Never out of pain and Dr Will did tell me he could never promise me to be 100% out of pain but he did say if I could even get 30% relief it would be worth it. Right now I am trying Xango Juice Mangosteen which seems to be helping it is all natural fruit juices....I also use Perform spray which has a lot of menthol and it numbs my back so I can sit. I do as much walking as possible and that does help with my pain. All in All...The procedure did somewhat help and the hole was just a pin hole right above my tailbone that you could never even find.

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Tripletmom -
I think you are going to have a very difficult time finding out if Dr.Alo's surgery is worth it or not. All the surgeons I saw said since it's not proven they don't recommend it. One doc said if u do it, come back and show me the results. He would then consider it. Also, with Dr. Alo being a pain mgmt doctor it makes you wonder why back nuerosurgons don't do this. I spoke with Dr. Alo and asked him questions and he was very nice in answering them. I just didn't want to go through it since I didn't find anyone that I know of could physically see to talk to about the surgery.

Its been about 9 months since my surgery with Dr. Bindal and my back feels fine. It will be never normal. I get weird feelings back there but my legs don't get numb like they used to. Remember once you get surgery you could face further problems in life, thats a general rule I believe with all surgeries.

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Guy`s I was on here when this thead was new. Read the comments in the middle. The place was in the courts for many reasons. just beware. Sam

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I was considering this procedure until I delved into doing my due diligence. This is only one of the negatives that I have found:http://hubtub.hubpages.com/hub/Accurascope-Laser-Spine-Surgery-Risks
A big "red flag" for me is that I can not find anything that shows that this procedure has been FDA approved.
I was looking for minimally invasive quick recovery procedure and that is how I came upon them. However, if it is to good to be true.....you know the rest.
I hope the link helps you.

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Why is this discussion thread 3 to 4 years old? Does anyone have current info on Northamericanspine and their Accurascope Procedure?
Sounds like there were a lot of problems with the original inventor. Is this technology as good as they make it look on their website?

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I have 3 bulging & herniated disks, L4 - tailbone, caused by an auto accident. I would also love to hear from anyone who has had this done!! I've been on addictive pain meds since 12/2011 ~ I have had many shots into my spine, then the nerves burned off, and then 5" open back to insert a Boston Scientific spinal cord stimulator in the spine & a battery pack in my rear. I can't drive on the meds & off or on them, if I'm out to long, sitting or standing, I get to a point where I no longer can walk.
I asked my pain management Dr about the accurascope and he said negative things like I, a CPA, say about cheap little tax businesses that pop up everywhere in Jan/Feb. My nuerosurgeon wants to do a fusion, but having heard so much bad info about this I went for 2nd, 3rd & 4th opinions. The first one yelled at me for having a disco-gram, the second & third ones said do not fuse, keep taking meds... I'm only 54, would love to find something that would help...

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I am leaning toward this procedure, mainly for two reasons. First, I have had surgery on l4/l5 twice, the second time, the doctor(in Houston) also repaired l5/s1. This was in the late 1980's. Second, I also had a very bad neck popping habit that had taken it's toll; My Doctor told me of a new procedure, where he would insert a catheter from the base of my spine, and travel all the way to my neck area, and with an early version of this procedure, with a small fiber optic camera( I was actually able to see part of the procedure on a monitor, while he was working on me. Back then, no laser was used, instead a saline solution jet was used to melt away the scar tissue, and relieve the pinched nerves, and then a second jet with cortisone was spayed to the treated area. I was in the hospital for 3 1/2 days, because they could only address one joint per day. The procedure was an absolute success, and I have not had to pop my neck in 25 years, a the nerve pain to my neck, arms, and head aches have not come back. My only concern is, that North American Spine either doesn't accept , or is not sanctioned by medicare. I'm trying to see if the VA would pay for this procedure, since I am currently on 60 % disability, and receiving nerve blocking injections every three months. If not, I will probably opt for some kind of financing.

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LBP2013, Jim, Deborah, David

I hope I can help with some of your answers. I've done a lot of research and talked to dozens of patients who had the AccuraScope Procedure done my North American Spine.

LBP2013, that article you're referring to was written by a woman from Tampa, Florida and likely in conjunction with Laser Spine Institute, which is based in Tampa. The claims in the article are false and form what I understand, many of the original claims within the article have been removed and there's a court battle to remove the whole article. It wreaks of a competitor trying to attack another company.

With that said, the procedure is not FDA approved, but there are NO procedures that are FDA approved. The only things the FDA can approve are things that go into your body, such as drugs and devices used during surgeries. With that said, the device used during the AccuraScope Procedure IS FDA approved.

Jim, the issues with a doctor who worked with NAS more than 3 years ago are well documented. But he has not worked there since early 2011. There is not one partner physician with NAS currently that have any pending lawsuits of any kind against them. This was one doctor who hasn't had any ties to NAS for several years. By all accounts, the docs who work with them now are top-notch and all board certified.

Deborah, it's not uncommon for docs to say things like that about what are essentially their competitors. That's true with any business. I can assure you, North American Spine is far from a pop up tax business. Independent research shows they've had more than 8,000 success surgeries. That research also says they have an 82% success rate. I have actually spoken with a couple of people who didn't get the relief they were hoping for after the procedure. However, BOTH of them say they would recommend NAS to others because of the care and customer service. That was interesting to me. Imagine it not working, yet they still rave about the care they received and understood that the procedure isn't a cure all for everyone. They do have a program where you can reach out to former patients about their experiences. That to me is the best way to learn first hand what it may be able to do for you. These people aren't paid by the company, they're going to give you the straight up scoop.

David, you are right, North American Spine does not accept Medicare. With that said, they are telling patients that there's going to be a discounted rate applied at the start of the year. That may or may not be of interest to you.

I guess a summary for all is that you're going to have negative things posted about you online if you're a company that threatens to change the system that so many are used to. It doesn't matter what the industry is. I would check out Google Reviews, Yahoo Reviews, Yelp.....to see what former patients are saying. Blogs like the one referenced above are obviously skewed by an agenda. From the people I've talked to about NAS, they have nothing but nice things to say. Just my 2 cents worth.

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All, I had surgery at the Dallas location on Dec 9, 2014. I went through what most of you are going through prior to the surgery attempting to find some sort of positive or negative feedback and had very little success. My job was getting tired of my missing days and also might be late because of my ability to move in the morning but sometimes took over two hours for me to get some sort of flexibility so I could get dressed and go to work. Post surgery I flew back on the 10th from Dallas to New York and it was my first pain-free flight in Probably seven years. Post surgery instructions included very little other than ice on the back as much as possible and want to know is no stretching movement. I was told by the middle of the third week that severe information was sent in and I was to take no anti-inflammatories as they wanted information to contact me and the fluids to help regenerate the disks. They were spot on with this currently going through that painful inflammation. But what is so different about this i inflammation other lumbar formation that I've had in the past is the fact that none of it runs down my legs none of it goes into my feet none of it. So I am very optimistic that the surgery is if not extremely successful will definitely help me for the great matter my chronic back problem. I will continue to post as changes take place so as to help others make a decision as to whether to get the surgery to try I hope this hope some of you

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I had the surgery done on 8/24/15. I have a herniated and bulging disk at L5-S1 that was compressing on the nerves and could hardly move without extreme pain and stabbing pain radiating down my right leg into my first 2 toes. The procedure was completed over 2 days. I had it done in Houston and it was easy because I live there so no traveling had to be done. Day one is mapping. I was put into twilight and they mapped out the nerves to find the exact place and nerve that was getting pinched due to the herniated disk. It was a fairly long procedure and when they hit the right one you will absolutely know it. Day 2 was surgery day. Small incision right at the base of your spine ( nice way of saying in your butt crack) surgery went very smoothly, Day 3 is the follow up. You get your brace, follow up instructions and info on Physical therapy which starts on week 6 and goes to week 12. I am still in this stage. I have had an overall decrease in pain by about 70% which is more than worth it in my book alone. There are good days and bad days but you have to follow the aftercare instructions. I am not 100% pain free but I do feel like it has given me much needed relief. I was told at my initial visit that this works on 75% of the patients that have it done. 75% was better odds than the open back surgeon was giving me and with far less down time. I took one week off and then was on light duty for the next week. In the 25% of people that it does not work for the next step is to have a portion of the vertebrae removed to open the passage way (in my case anyway) that is pressing on the nerve and that works in about 20% of people. I have had good results but again I am not 100% pain free. My insurance paid 80% and my out of pocket was about $4000. Well worth it in my book. I no longer take pain killers and just use a muscle relaxer at night. I still have 7 weeks of physical therapy left and will be happy to let you know what the completed result is.

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Hi all,
I had a L3-L4 disc discectomy with decompression in the 3rd week of January 2017 at NAS. I am about 10 weeks out of surgery. 90% of my pain is gone. I am walking 1.6 miles a day and going up. I also do the exercises the institute emailed me every day. I am sooooooo happy I decided to go for it.
History- Back pain with buttocks pain- no leg pain. Did P.T. for over 2 months. MRI showed disc bulge in one and annular tear with bulge in the other. Saw a neurosurgeon and was told without leg pain they would not touch me. Pain management was pain medication with one injection.The injection did not help. Did not like the idea of pain meds forever, I am only 43 years old.
Tried to "rehab" it myself for several months without getting any better. I knew 2 people who used NAS in the past and had great results. One lady I worked with and the other was a freind of a freind. All were here in Ohio.
I made the call to NAS. They made no promises, but I did speak to the actual Doctor and was able to research him online before committing. I had it done in Tennessee.
Tennessee is an 8 hour drive for me in Ohio. Was worth every mile.
It cost me $1500 and my insurance picked up the rest. I would have paid $10,000 out of pocket if I had to since I was desperate. I do have excellent insurance through work.
I still have to stretch ocassionally throughout the day. 2-3 times for 3 or 4 minutes plus my regular p.t.
I am getting better every week though still at this point.
I did take 2 weeks off work and still refuse to lift more than 20 lbs. Only because I want to make sure I do not mess up such a good thing!
Post any other questions you have and I will get back with you!
By the way I did read this post along with others before I had the surgery. I believe in doing my own research like many of you.

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Hey guys and girls. I am a retired agent/broker health insurance. The reason NAS wants so much money up front, is because, their Doctors are ANESTHESIOLOGIST,. As opposed the spine surgeon. So, because of this, most insurance companies either won't pay for any of their charges, or very small amounts. So, buyer better! Also, just find a real surgeon that does minimally invasive surgery, that takes your insurance, and, TA-DA! Your copay will be affordable, plus, your surgery will be in the hands of a reputable SURGEON, which should give you peace of mind about all the horror story's you've been hearing! I know that I WOULDN'T trust an anesthesiologist to do surgery on my spine! Good luck all! (* I found one near me by Google: ' minimally invasive spine surgery, by real surgeon'! )

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Acupressure is sometimes good.

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