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Wrestling Superstar Hulk Hogan Suing Florida Laser Spine Institute

Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan, has filed a lawsuit against the Laser Spine Institute, a clinic based in Tampa, for $50 million alleging unnecessary surgeries.

In the lawsuit, Hogan claims that procedures conducted by the institute resulted in more spinal instability, significant bone loss and significant losses in income, including a lucrative match with John Cena. In 2009, Hogan reached out to several back doctors, after complaining of lower back pain, and was told by the Laser Spine Institute that treatments would be minimally invasive, and a have a quicker recovery time, compared to open back surgery.

In his lawsuit, Hogan claims the treatments cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and were ineffective. He also claims the clinic should have known the treatments would not have worked, as he has spent years getting slammed onto a wrestling mat.

In 2010, after failed treatments with the laser spine institute, Hogan went through with the lower lumbar spinal fusion surgery and was back to his physical activities in three months.

According to a spine surgeon at the Orthopedic Center of St. Louis, minimally invasive treatments do have their advantages, but are very patient specific. Some of the treatments used on Hogan at the institute included thermal ablation, when a laser deadens the nerve causing pain and laminotomy, an opening along the spine to relieve pressure on the nerve root.

More than 31 million Americans experience back pain at any given time, according to the American Chiropractic Association, and Americans spend almost $50 billion each year on pain relief. Experts believe that 80% of Americans will experience back pain at one point in their life. Back pain is also one of the most common causes for missed work, and second most reason for doctor visits.

Medical malpractice, also referred to as medical negligence, may be committed by doctors, surgeons, physicians, hospitals, nurses or another health care professional. Medical malpractice occurs when one of these individuals fails to act reasonably or deviates from a reasonable standard of care that a similar medical professional would exercise under the same circumstances.

A mistake in the operating room can have serious consequences for a patient and his or her family. Surgical mistakes can result in extended hospital stays, revision surgeries, readmission after going home, infection, additional procedures to correct the mistake and even death.

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Source: Tampa Bay Times, "Wrestler Hulk Hogan sues Laser Spine Institute, alleging unnecessary surgeries," Jan. 15, 2013.

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