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Laser Spine Institute-Tampa, FL

I am looking for information, positive or negative, relative to the Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, FL.

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'''Laser Spine Institute'''(updated)

Many people have looked for articles on the web about this alternative health care facility in Tampa, Florida.

There are positive and negative reports around the internet about them.  This should help for anyone to conclude if Laser Spine Institute should be a medical institution for back surgery.  

Laser Spine Institute is an alternative Medical facility that performs Laser-assisted Spine Surgery of the back.  Laser Spine Institute has approximated a claimed of surgery successes rate of 90% for the procedures done at their facility.  

This Medical facility has been known to have a nominal charge ranging from $12,000 to $30,000 dollars for any back procedure performed at the facility.  This charge is usually collected upfront before any back procedures is done.  Everyone must send their MRI to LSi to let LSI verify they can attempted back surgery on you, then you make an appointment to talk to the doctors of Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, Florida about your MRI to verify you can become a surgery recipient at the cost of a non-refundable $2,500.00 first office visit.

remember this is not mainstream medicine and has been around since the 1980s, so please consider it alternative medicine, there is a hugh price to pay if you attempted it. so find the best in the field for it. There are better alternatives out there than this place. Under most conditions you may have doctors in your area that preform the same surgeries that Back institutes claim to be specialist in for alot less money and covered by insurance.

i would not go to LSI just from hearing the botched surgeries they have had, and the bad stories, hearing that LSI treats you like are buying a car under very fast pace and manipulative car sales man tactics by LSI staff when you go in for your first appointment and LSI staff members makes the situation seem like it is now or never to get you to agree to a surgery right at that moment, does not seem right, and reading on the web about how some patients who have had failed surgeries from LSI, I believe they are being treated like lepers, Hearing these horror stories about LSi actions doesn't appear to be professional... I believe this should be warning to everyone...

Make sure you question everything about Laser Spine institute.  I mean everything, from each doctors credentails to where they went to school to who board certified them.  From my research these thing just don't add up for Laser Spine institute doctors.  From reports around the web they say that some doctors are very good to the patients but for 30,000 dollars you will get a pleasant smile and warm handshake from anyone. I wouldn't let anything slip by you, I would suggest taking a lawyer with you during your first visit and any visit there after, even to the surgery, just to make sure everything remains legitmate.

from another blog site about laser spine institute

 Snake Oil Please Read
I have seen Dr. Choy, a neurosurgeon on faculty at Columbia Univ Medical, who developed a laser procedure to treat herniated discs only. I have spinal stenosis, which he could not help with. he advised open back surgery which I will not do. He told me that LSI, Micro institute and Bonati are FRAUDULENT. they are scams and out to steal your money. period. If insurance companies will not pay up there is a reason. There are legitimate procedures - Foothills Pain center in S. Carolina does Choy's procedure for herniation, X Stop at St. Mary's Medical in San Francisco is legitimate but only works on certain cases. Lastly look at the doctors and their credentials. you want to see a degree in neurosurgery and membership in accredited neurosurgery organizations. phony degrees from phony caribbean medical schools are rampant in the world of laser back treatment. Do not let any so called doctor without a degree in neurosurgery touch your back. Nerve blocks work for some people with some symptoms. as does cortisone. PLEASE DO A HUGE AMOUNT OF DUE DILIGENCE BEFORE GIVING A PENNY TO A FLORIDA OUTFIT. DO NOT LET YOUR PAIN RULE YOUR JUDGMENT.the best and only proven course is exercise and rigorous physical therapy. also either eat a whole lot of wild salmon or double dose or salmon oil or flaxseed oil. over time that will help the condition, whatever it is.
Last edited by olenska : Mar 29, 2008 at 08:07 AM.

and another

ThoreauFan ThoreauFan is offline
Senior Member

Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 265

Re: NS, Ortho, Minimally Invasive, etc.
Originally Posted by Qtant36 View Post
Have you heard of the LaserSpine Institute? Just curious because you seem to be pretty knowledgable.
I'll throw in a caveat because I believe these decisions are deeply personal. As my grandpa used to say, "If everybody wanted the same thing they'd all be chasing grandma." LSI may be the right choice for you.

There are many options out there and no one size fits all solution.

My opinion is just that; ONE person's opinion.

I had not heard of LSI.

I did a search, though, and one of their click ads showed up on ******; they know how to use modern marketing tools very well. The web site is pretty and professionally designed. LSI is in FL which just happens to be the state where I would open up such a center because of the aging, wealthy retired population (it provides a wonderful market opportunity $).

The lead surgeon is a Doctor of Osteopathy, not an M.D.

I can't tell what governing body "Board Certifed" the surgeon.

I particularly enjoyed the "Chief Spine Surgeon" prominently displaying having had received the 2005 "Physician of the Year" award for Orthopaedic Surgery from the American Association of Physician Specialists.

The designating body's requirements?

"The Physician of the Year award may be presented by each academy of medicine to a member who has contributed to the growth, recognition, and leadership of the academy." In 2006, the body's Orthopaedic Surgery "academy" did not even award such a designation to anyone.

I downloaded the organization's "Degree of Fellow" application, BTW.

What exactly is a "Diplomat" or "Fellow" of the American Academy of Neurologic and Orthopaedic Surgeons? You would have to visit the web site of the "Academy" to find out. They provide "Board Certification" for their members. Being a "Fellow" International College of Surgeons is even more impressive; their dues may be paid via credit card using PayPal.

Curiously, the "Chief Spine Surgeon" of the institute does not mention where his internship or residency were performed. But why would he need to with all those impressive credentials?

Apparently, LSI does not have relationships with insurers.

I'm sure LSI helps many people and its personnel are qualified.

Having viewed the web site, my opinion is that someone saw an opportunity to make a whole lot of money outside the coventional system of medical care and gave birth to LSI. Personally, I would not use any physician who has an outside financial interest; labs, outpatient centers, etc.

FYI: Minimally invasive options are widely available.

I'm curious, did you pick LSI because of its location?


and another message board

algosdoc wrote:
Results from a single spine center, whether it be LSI, Microspine, Bonati, etc are not released to the public since these centers 1. do not track their outcomes over time 2. give patients a referral list of those known to have positive outcomes, thereby invoking a very uneven playing field 3. do not use standard measurements of functional assessment before and after surgery. How many that have had surgery from these centers have had an Oswestry or Roland Morris test before and after? How many have had a SF36 pain assessment instead of a simple "think of a number between one and ten"? How many have had the modified MacNab outcome assessment?
My point is, the lack of data available is not equivalent to a center having good outcomes. Talking to a few people about their outcomes is effectively meaningless. Talking to those on a referral list is even more ludicrous.
If you elect to go to an unorthodox spine center, then ask the appropriate questions:
1. In what peer reviewed medical journal are your outcomes published?
2. What standard testing before and after, are used to assess outcomes?

Failure to acquire this information is permitting centers to engage in experimentation on you while you mortgage your house for them to do so.

Be a smart patient in your pursuit of health care, and go into surgery armed with published outcome information about the techniques of non-standard surgeries. If you do not have this information, you might as well take your $30,000 and go to Vegas. At least in Vegas, your outcome odds are statistically known.


and another message board...

Financial Costs of Laser Spine Surgery
Posted: 04-01-08 07:42am
Regarding the costs of surgery mentioned in a couple of posts here for LSI and what Algosdoc says the costs are for him.

This is really very disturbing to me. Specifically Plasma Disc Decompression.

My mind is just blown away at what LSI charged fenarrito for a plasma disc decompression and that didn't include travel to and from Florida, housing, food etc.
Never mind the fact that it is not a laser procedure
My math calculator came up with a figure of $16,000. And Algosdoc stated it shouldn't be much more than $5,000 maximum.
That is $11,000 more at LSI and this procedure is covered by insurance when done by spinal surgeons that are not part of the laser facilities.
The most a patient would have to pay would be a co-pay if that is required for sugery and day surgery procedures.

A friend of my husband and I had this done 2 months ago at a major Boston MA hospital and they just got the insurance paid receipt info last week in the mail. BC/BS of MA paid the bill in it's entirety minus their $75 co-pay. Including the doctor's bill, the total bill was an even $6,000.
Again $10,000 less than LSI.

That really disturbs me to no end, especially considering that they did not do anything differently than any other spinal surgeon would do that does not do laser spinal surgery.

Just leads me to ask these questions?

What is up with the incredibly high charge for this type of procedure?

And why would anyone go to any laser spine facility for this procedure and pay such a high price for it and have to pay for it out of their own wallet?



The founding Doctors of Laser Spine Institute Were employed by Dr. Bonati.


''The founding Doctors of Laser Spine Institute are''

Dr Michael Perry [Medical Director]

Dr Glenn Hamburg [anesthesiologist]

Dr Craig R. Wolfe M.D. Surgeon

Dr James St Louis D.O. and Chief Spine Surgeon


Healthgrades .com does verify the doctors on there website...

like this doctor  


Healthgrades.com for some reason or another does not verify Dr ST louis's stated facts about his medical credentials.  The more i dig, I believe the more this man looks like a fraud.  

Kennedy Medical Center Cherry Hill, NC, 1995 for a one year residency, and I can't even find this medical institution in Cherry Hill or any mention of it except on health grades website and Dr st-Louis LSI website.

Dr ST Louis hospital affiliation is non-existent on the West Florida hospital website.

Dr. James St. Louis, chief spine surgeon at the Laser Spine Institute and the American Association of Physician Specialists' 2005 PHYSICIAN OF THE YEAR for Orthopaedic Surgery... His title is non-verifiable on the web or the AAPS website, is he so trustworthy...

   this founder of LSI is to be trustworthy???????

blogs about LSI>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>













'''''Legal Problems at Laser Spine Institute'''''

They have been verified reports of dishonest, fraud credentials from another doctor from LSI whom labeled himself a medical doctor in full knowledge that he was not a qualified medical doctor to infringement of intellectual property copy rights by LSI...




I believe Dishonesty runs rampant at LSI

 Dr. MICHAEL WEISS Orthopedic surgeon of LSI has settle against one malpractice claim!!!  ONE complaint: settled for $200,000.00



here are some interesting places you could visit to read up on for your pain and  understanding. They talk about spinal injections and write in detail about the procedure.



http://www.spineuniverse.com/displayarticle.php/article1510.html .... contains very useful information. if you read all the links from this site.

**************************************** ******************
there is also neucloplasty...

Unique New Radio Wave Procedure Called Promising for Low Back Pain Associated With Contained Herniated Discs



**************************************** ******************
These is also prolotherapy...

Sugar-water injections help chronic pain


Be very careful when considering prolotherapy.  It is the purposeful infammation of the already damaged area. Young people and elite athletes have enough substantial cell turnover to flush the injected irritants from the site over time. This may or may not bring new bloodflow to the area. If you are not an elite athlete or you're over 30 years old, this treatment may significantly worsen your condition permanently.  Read up on it before you agree to it. Google has a number of sites to investigate.
**************************************** ******************
for spinal replacement this is the newest doctor in the midwest to successfully implant the new types of fda approved spinal mechanical parts


Spinal Decompression therapy or traction, you should also consider physical Therapy and back strengthening with this type of therapy




'''Alternative Places of Interest for back related problems'''
must read very informative






You can reasearch health issue at this website...

This doctor is a pioneer in back surgery

why does laser spine institute need lobbyist???


Please research these subjects... They should help understand some back pain conditions and their solutions.  If you feel you can be helped by chiropractic and physical therapy you could that a try.  From what i read around the web... injections can and cannot work for back pain....

1 Intradiscal Electrothermoplasty (IDET)

2 Radiofrequency Discal Nucleoplasty, (Coblation Nucleoplasty), DISC Nucleoplasty Percutaneous Discectomy

3 prolotherapy

4 Spinal decompression, with physical therapy

5 Epidural Injections

 * caudal block
 * translumbar
 * transforaminal

6 Facet Injections

7 Selective Nerve Root Blocks

8 Sympathetic Blocks

9 Intrathecal Pain Pump (Morphine Pump)

10 Radiculopathy

11 Fluoroscopic guided injections

12 Arthroscopic discectomy

13 Percutaneous endoscopic interlaminar discectomy

14 Percutaneous Laser Disc Decompression was pioneered by Dr. Peter Ascher and Daniel S.J.CHOY

15 Trigger Point Injections

16 Modalities

another message board had this to say about LSI...

anyone who goes to either the laser spine or bonati institute is crazy. Please I speak form experience, I had two cervical procedures at the bonati institute, by dr bonati, that has made me worse than before. I am not sure about lumbar procedures, I do know that the cervical procedures being performed at these place are nothing new, they are performing a cervical formantomy through dialiting tubes, posterior cervical formantomy has been around for 50 years they are just doing it through an arthoscope. My pont he is I was misadiagnosed, and should have had a cervical fusion, bonati knew that a formantomy would lead to A COLLAPASE of the disc space. I have been to the best spine surgeons in new york and they are in disbelief that bonati performed a cervical formantomy knowing my problems could only be addressed by a fusion. Stay away I am living proof that bonati is corrupt, and lasers spine doctors worked with bonati. Google alfred bonati and you will find a ton of lawsuits. My life is destroyed, please do your research on these places before you destoy youre with botched surgeries.

I have to say that I may be one of the lucky ones or he is just that damn good. And having experienced 10 surgeries with Dr. Bonati, personally he saved my life, literally. I suffered from ruptured discs,stenosis,bonespurs, severely pinched nerves causing debilitating pain in my lower back down to my foot and everywhere in between. for the better part of a decade many Dr.'s tried many things and eventually told me I would just have to live with it. Dr. Bonati took a look at my mri and said he could help. I will not lie, it was not an easy road, there were only 3-4 surgeries forcast, but when they got in, it was worse than anticipated and there were complications, but we kept going with more surgeries based on his observations and after some healing time,more than anticipated. My nerves were actually regrowing so I still felt some pain for a while, but nothing like before the surgeries. I was doing many of the things I had missed, I got cocky and tried yoga, thinking limber was good which it is. but Yoga BAD! I have flare ups and my new mri shows bulging discs again. It is not constant like before just aggravating when I was actually pain free for almost 2 yrs. Still I am %1000 better than when I limped at a snails pace into The Bonati Institute in 07'. My life is as I never dreamed it could be still. But have good insurance and thinking of going there again. I saw the vast majority of patients have 1-2 surgeries and there was immediate releif, you could see it in their faces, trust me. I know this is long but this was life changing for me and I have read such uninformed garbage about a man I have had the honor of meeting personally and really getting to know. He is dedicated to what he created and the difference it makes in peoples lives, he genuinely wants to help and always does his best. I highly recommend anyone who has back pain that is intolerable and you have tried all other conventional methods. Or unconventional. When you are that desperate you will try anything. If that is you, please call the bonati institute. They can help! You will not regret it. Your life is worth it.

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