Ratings for Dr. Aaron G. Filler
I went to see Dr. Filler in 2007 after having three surgeries on my L-4 L-5 disc. He did an MRI guided epidural injection which proved the level where the damage was, and subsequently he did a distal foramenotomy at Cedars Sinai. The surgery did not produce the desired results, meaning there was no improvement in the pain. So by what standards am I to rate Dr. Filler? First, it's important to realize that he belongs to group of surgeons who are willing to take on failed surgery cases. Most neurosurgeons will not operate unless they absolutely believe their surgery is going to give a huge improvement. Once they hear that someone else operated on you and it failed you are anathema. They won't touch you. And why? Because if you've been operated on it's often a one-shot chance at correcting the problem, and they don't want to run the risk of making you worse, or not helping you at all, which would be a failed surgery that they are now responsible for. So to begin with, Dr. Filler is willing to try when others won't. If you use any kind of common sense reasoning you'll understand that he's not likely therefore to have a tremendous record of success. I have heard from people who went to him first and his outcomes were extremely good. So you have to look at the fact that he's willing to try. The second thing that I took away was that he didn't make me worse. That, in itself, can be a huge success. I know guys who have gone into surgery and come out terribly damaged, paralyzed, in far worse pain, etc. So just not being made worse can be a success. My problem stemmed from a neurosurgeon who was too conservative and unwilling to take any sort of risk on me, even when I was in level 10 pain. He didn't want to suggest surgery and kept promoting the 'wait and see if it resolves' protocol. And though this works with a lot of people, I believe he should have seen what pain I was in, getting worse and worse, and operated very quickly. As it turned out his unwillingness to take a chance cost me permanent nerve damage, which I'm living with. Dr. Filler was willing to operate on what he saw as a 'possible site where the nerve was in contact with the bone.' And he freed up the nerve, so if it had not been so badly damaged I'm certain it would have recovered. By this set of standards I believe Dr. Filler is competent and talented. I know he's extremely expensive, and it's because of the experimental equipment he has developed. But the fact is that people want to find an inexpensive route to get extremely sophisticated surgery done, not accepting that when it comes to your health you should never think about what it costs, because your health is all you have, and if you 'go cheap' on a surgery you could be paying a hundred times more throughout your life in misery and lost earnings from work you can no longer do. I only wish I had lived in L.A. at the time I was injured, rather than in Hawaii, which is a complete backwater when it comes to medicine. I was in too much pain to think straight or to travel, so I found the 'best' dr. in Honolulu, and have regretted my decision for the last 14 years. Dr. Filler was expensive, but he didn't make me any worse, and I admire that he was willing to operate on my in spite of my being a failed surgery case.
Well, the comments below sadden me. Dr. Filler diagnosed my Piriformis Syndrome immediately AND did several non-evasive procedures on me after I had been through Cedars Sinai Spine Center with no result. I literally was dragging my leg, dropping to the ground without warning, couldn't feel my toes, spasms, I couldn't walk, climb stairs, stand in line, sit...I could do nothing! I was headed to a wheelchair bound life. Two neurosurgeons at Cedars Sinai (to remain unnamed) took me into a room at their office and told me they straight out couldn't help me, and recommended Dr. Filler as the one to go to, with my own research I already knew it. He has been trained at the best schools, still works through Cedars, and also co-developed and co-patiented this amazing MRI Neurography scanner which he does charge a lot for. Regular MRIs/PT scans don't show all the nerves! He's so far up the Special Surgical ladder and out of network that most if not all insurance policies don't cover him. I borrowed money from my family, unloaded my saving and I'm still paying off my credit card from 2007 but I have a life now for me and my family. I am actually headed back to see him about my currrent neck nerve damage. (Yes, I was in a bad accident, still dealing with issues as I get older.) He's the final stop and he's not a magician so if it can't be fixed, it can't be fixed. Not his fault. When I ran out of Cedars after surgery.....I kissed the ground. When I had the follow-up appt with him, and danced in front of him, we were both in tears....he is a very caring, sweet man but he is a surgeon, they are not know for their bedside manner. Now his office is an interesting side show, I agree, they could be nicer. And they seem to now recently be more upfront with the billing. Yes, there are two bills; one for Dr. Filler's surgical fee and one for the surgical center....all that equipment downstairs, Dr. Filler has paid for it! Many surgeons have their own surgical suite now, Marina Del Rey Spine, Congress Medical etc. I've had all types of surgeries and I'm in the music business and my clients charge a fee, and then there's also studio fee!!! They could be more transparent upfront AND I suggest everyone has the total money in their pocket before even seeing him. The accounting department is rather harsh on money past due and he knows it, believe me! They are hardcore as needs to pay salaries, rents, feed his own family and I am sure he has ongoing maintenance bills and purchases for the surgical suite, correct? Last time I saw him his computer monitor was failing. I've spent hours and hours with this man, Jodene his medical assistant and I honor them. Most of the comments below don't take into consideration that he is a SPECIALIST and has a FINANCIAL OVERHEAD. I am sorry if you have permanent damage, he would be the one to fix it if it could be fixed. Doctors are practicing medicine!
He is a "mad" doctor. He cost me everything... my career, marriage, home, finances, and health. Ask yourself why: he never addresses you by your first name and always shakes with a limp handshake, he does not accept health insurance, no one is in the waiting room, there is very little wait to get in for surgery, he sits in his office while you wait overtime for your appointment, no one (including him) in the office smiles, he does not operate with an assisting physician, he tells you to get a pre-op from his doctor, he says things about your condition no other doctor says, he has a "special" MRI no other institution has, he has a "special" MRI in his "basement" for injections, he is not a radiologist, orthopedic surgeon, or urologist, yet acts like he is, he writes a post-op report with outright lies (if you are unlucky enough to have surgery), he became a lawyer, so he could sue his patients, hospitals, and insurance companies. He even sued his former business partner, a physician. His niche market is patients who have been diagnosed already, and hopefully have had a failed surgery already. HE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU.
My son was apparently seen with "Dr.Filler" or associates mailing me what appeared to be a plan of treatment solicitation or professional opinion. Dr. Filler's services or associates or affiliates had been discussing how they could charge medi-cal for non emergent services and have caused me and my son to undergo scrutiny from child protective services because I disagreed with the recommended or prescribed excess of invasive scans and questioned unprofessional medical misconduct. with regard to my phonecall to his office he told me court would take My son from me. And abruptly hung up on me. because of my hesitancy in accepting his assistance he filed a report with child protective services My son whom I will refer to as "DTC" has been taken by his associates and here's the kicker: my son's father (named in a judgement of parantage) is Dr. Filler's nephew. I'm definitely not recommending his business(es) or associates. They can be very misleading.
My wife as a Physical Therapist, and myself as a Dentist, have a combined six decades of experience with a special interest in working with chronic pain patients. We have never dealt with or even heard of an office that is as unprofessional as this one. No Doctor or Therapist in their right mind would ever refer to to Filler, his office staff is terribly abusive, and Filler has no interest in communicating with his patients or their primary care doctors. The staff told me what they thought that I wanted to hear, including that they would help me get insurance coverage until the moment that they got my written consent. The next day, after I had the procedures, they did a total flip on me, and were rude, totally uncaring, and lazy. Filler may or may not have tremendous talent. However he is a snake oil salesman, even trying to sell me on piriformis surgery before he even finished his brief initial evaluation or ridiculously priced scan! The old saying, "if the only tool that you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail," fits him far too well. Sadly, I have seen too many surgeons who seem to have talent and good credentials, let their professional judgement become corrupted by the lust for money. Doctors are responsible for providing a high level of care, skill, and judgement. He may or may not have skill, but my experience was that he offers terrible care and judgement.
Stay away from this "doctor." I wish I had done further research on this guy before going ahead with the procedure. His whole practice is a scam and only designed to generate money on the back of people who will believe anything to relieve their pain. Long wait, not bedside manners, his staff is rude and doesn't care at all. Do some research and you will find that Filler has a bad reputation amongst his peers. I went through the same process as everyone else, the expensive MRI diagnosis/injection, the insurance issue, the lies and omissions from his staff. I'm lucky the insurance ended up covering most of the over $100k surgery. He ended up entirely removing my piriformis (which he forgot to mention -- I only found out later from another specialist), which didn't change the amount of pain, but he also decided to make a second incision and get rid of some supposed scar tissue in an area that wasn't causing any pain. Result: two large scars, no change in the original pain, but he actually severed a nerve in my leg during the second incision, which has made the skin on the back of my thigh totally numb while there's a constant burning sensation inside the thigh. I thought I was in pain before, but it wasn't until I had the surgery that I realized what being in pain was really about. He didn't fix the problem but actually made it worse, and created a second issue. He claimed that was a potential risk of the surgery (which he never mentioned) but that it had never happened to him before (which was a lie, as I found several other patients online who had a similar experience). My life fell apart after the surgery because of the pain. It wasn't until six months later when I found a pain specialist who found the right pain medication for me that I found some relief and am now able to live with the chronic pain (the medication is buprenorphine, which was a life saver for me, helped with the pain but without making me feel sleepy or loopy like the other pain meds). It's now been 5 years since the surgery and I decided to write this after someone asked me about Dr. Filler. I just hope I can save someone from experiencing a similar nightmare. He does help a few people, but other neurosurgeons could get the same results without the risks, cost and overall dreadful experience that is Dr. Filler. He's an egotistical charlatan only interested in money, what he does borders on criminal and I'm amazed he is still allowed to practice. Do yourself a favor -- save yourself the pain, don't gamble with your health and go see another neurosurgeon.
I went to this doctor with severe right side pain. 3 years later it's actually worse from the surgeries that were done. There was no follow up care and getting medical records sent to another doctor is a nightmare. I live on the east coast and spent in excess of $50,000 between cost of flying out and his fees. Ridiculous! Now in 2014 I still can't afford care for my condition.
Dr. Aaron G. Filler's Credentials
Accepting New Patients
- Univ Of Chicago, Pritzker Sch Of Med, Chicago Il 60637 (Grad. 1986)
Areas of Expertise
Awards & Recognitions
Publications & Research