OBJECTIVE : To estimate the direct healthcare costs of spinal disorders in Brazil over 2016. METHODS : This is a prevalence-based cost-of-illness study with a top-down approach from the perspective of the public healthcare system. All international Classification of Diseases codes related to spinal disorders were included. The following costs were obtained: (1) hospitalization; medical professional service costs; intensive care unit costs; companion daily stay; (2) outpatient (services/procedures). Data were analyzed descriptively and costs presented in US$. RESULTS : The healthcare system spent US$ 71.4 million, and inpatient care represented 58%. The number of inpatient days was 250,426, and there were 36,654 hospital admissions (dorsalgia and disk disorders representing 70% of the costs). More than 114,000 magnetic resonance scans and 107,000 computerized tomography scans were adopted. Men had more inpatient days (138,215) than women (112,211). Overall, the inpatient/outpatient cost ratio was twice as high for men. CONCLUSIONS : We demonstrated that the direct costs of spinal disorders in Brazil in 2016 were considerable. We also found a substantial amount of financial resources spent on diagnostic imaging. This is relevant as the routine use of diagnostic imaging for back pain is discouraged in international guidelines.