Did you know that every year up to 500,000 people suffer from a spinal cord injury? Spinal injuries have an overwhelming impact on your quality of life. In addition, some conditions that go hand in hand with spinal injuries can be debilitating and, in some cases, are life-threatening.
The first recorded spinal surgery was in 650 AD, believed to relieve pressure from the lower back. Although it took several hundred years before spinal surgery was reintroduced, science has made great leaps in the last 30 years.
This article will inform you about flexible spine implants.
Who Qualifies for A Flexible Spine Implant?
There are several different reasons why a person may qualify for spine implants. Patients with scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, or traumatic fractures often undergo surgery to relieve some pain and allow for the correct healing process.
Additionally, patients that received spinal fusion surgery can benefit from spinal implants as well. Spinal fusion is the process of binding vertebrae segments together.
How Long Do Flexible Spine Implants Last?
As mentioned above, spinal implants often aid in spinal fusion surgery. With spinal fusion surgery, some vertebrae segments are bound together to limit the specific movement that causes pain. Spinal implants are used in this case to support the fusion for up to a year.
Even though spinal implants are no longer needed after that year, removal is unnecessary. This is because invasive surgery to remove the implants can risk infection or other complications.
However, doctors are researching bio-resorbable implants. These implants will fade away within 2-3 years; however, there is currently limited availability of bioresorbable implants.
What Are the Different Types of Spinal Implants?
We already mentioned that spinal fusion surgery requires spinal implants. However, there are different types of implants for different types of surgeries. As a matter of fact, there are two categories.
The first category is fusion. This category includes cages, plates, and rods. Used to maintain the union between bones through bone graft.
Cages hold two vertebrae together and are hollow on the inside to create the lost space during a disc collapse. Thus, they offer a dynamic stabilization of the spine.
Plates help conform to the shape of the spine, held together by screws in the vertebrae. They are adaptable and stabilize the patient. The plates are adjustable when needed with a contouring tool.
Rods are solid and flexible. They are one of the original implants for spinal surgery. They are used with hooks and pedicle screws to limit the mobility of certain parts of the spine.
Some fusion surgeries that require spinal implants are:
- Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)
- Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)
- Axial Lumbar Interbody Fusion (AxiaLIF)
PLIF surgeries are the most common approach of corrective surgery and are usually done in the lumbar or the lower spine. Usually, a cage is used to support the PLIF.
TLIF, as well as PLIF, surgeries are done from the back. TLIF helps with instability or weakness by grafting two vertebrae together. Rods and pedicle screws are often used with these types of surgeries.
Degenerative disc, lumbar spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis require the Axial Lumbar Interbody Fusion. It stabilizes the spine and relieves pain. It is a minimally invasive surgery, approached through an incision close to the tailbone.
Recently, non-fusion implants used to preserve motion and mimic fusion surgeries have become more popular.
Artificial discs are a great example. They replace and imitate the function of normal discs. The artificial disc, designed for optimal mobility, is as close to the body's natural functions as possible.
Children with scoliosis benefit most from expendable rods. They straighten out the spine without fusion. In addition, the surgeons have control over these rods over time since they are adjustable and grow with the child.
What Kind of Maintenance Do They Require?
There is little to no maintenance required in most cases. However, as mentioned before, some implants are adjustable. For example, as the patient grows or the spine straightens, the implants need adjustment accordingly.
Most implants are made from titanium and do not interfere with X-rays or MRIs. Some implants are made of stainless steel, although these do interfere with some imaging procedures.
The Spinal Cord Stimulation Implant is an exception for maintenance. It is often used for chronic nerve pain. It sends impulses that disrupt the pain signals. Annual maintenance is required and can cost up to $7500 per year.
Do the Canada Health Care Programs Cover Flexible Spine Implants?
The Provincial Health Care programs such as OHIP (Ontario) cover any surgery that is medically required. However, they do not cover surgeries such as cosmetics or dental, as they do not fall under this category.
However, for example, OHIP does not cover many of the post-operative procedures required for spinal fusions and implants. It is, therefore, best to acquire insurance before starting the process.
Do Private Health Care Plans Cover Flexible Spine Implants?
Luckily, we have many suitable options to cover the further expenses post-operation. These expenses include physical therapy, hospital visits, medical specialists, equipment, prescription medications, and more.
There may be a deductible that you are required to pay; however, the rest of the costs are often fully covered.
Below are some of the best insurance companies for health care. At Insurdinary, we compare different insurance companies with our user-friendly platform. We can provide quotes for you for each of the companies below, and many more.
Blue Cross is an excellent insurance company designed for those who do not have additional health insurance provided by their employer. They have several different plans to protect you and your family. In addition, many programs allow for optimal customization and feature programs such as Health Consulting and Support, Partner privileges and discounts, and Information and Prevention Services.
Many of the plans allow for add-ons to optimize the best results for you. For more information on Blue Cross, continue reading here.
Sun Life Insurance
Sun Life Insurance is a great option for those who suffer from serious health problems, including severe back injuries. Sun Life offers four different services such as:
- Personal Health Insurance
- Critical Illness Insurance
- Long Term Care Insurance
- Disability Services
These options are excellent for those who suffer from chronic back pain or have recently experienced a severe spinal injury. These great options have different levels of coverage and are customizable for your needs.
Manulife is another option that you could consider for yourself and your loved ones. As a company, Manulife is passionate about contributing to society in many different areas. However, they believe that their most significant commitment lies in the quality of their products and how they can serve people who needed most.
However, they also commit to the betterment of society and the world as a whole. Therefore, they have high standards in environmental responsibility, health and wellness, volunteering, and much more.
A popular product of theirs is the Flexcare Health and Dental Insurance program. This plan is specifically designed to cover the extra expenses that are not covered by the provincial health care plans. As mentioned previously, these expenses can be anything from after-care to pain medication.
Even though science has made leaps and jumps in spinal implants surgeries to limit the invasiveness of the procedures, there is still a large risk and an extensive recovery post-procedure. However, a plan such as Flexcare can protect your finances and alleviate stress during your recovery.
Canada Protection Plan
Canada Protection Plan is a trusted and reputable insurance company that sells plans that require no medical exams.
This is a great option for athletes who are physically healthy and are worried that they may injure themselves during training and competitions. The Simplified Elite Life Insurance plan is specifically designed for this purpose and allows for fast application and approval.
They also offer other products that are beneficial for you and your family. Canada Protection Plan designs its insurance to be straightforward and easily accessible.
Are Spinal Implants for You?
There is hope if you suffer from chronic back pain or recently experienced a traumatic spinal cord injury. Spinal fusion surgery is major surgery, but it can enhance your life and even prolong your life.
Talk to your doctor today to discuss the possibilities of undergoing a life-changing surgery to insert flexible spine implants.
Before you start the process, don't forget to shop for insurance. Surgeries are stressful as is; the last thing you want to do is add to the stress with financial burdens.
At Insurdinary, we are passionate about finding the right coverage for you. Contact us today, or submit for a quote here.