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Spine Compression Fractures 

Osteoporosis is a disease process that involves inadequate mineralization and weakening of bone. This disease is prevalent in the US, affecting women more than man, and individuals of both sexes as we age.

This process can be treated medically with medicines that promote bone mineralization. Despite this, patients who suffer from osteoporosis often develop fractures of spine vertebras because their demineralized bones are weak and more prone to break even with normal activities of daily living. These fractures affect an estimated 25% of all postmenopausal women and 40% of women age 80 and older.

Once a fracture occurs, the spine alignment may be altered, nerves that arise from the spinal cord at the level of the fracture may become compressed, and the added weight on the fractured vertebra all contribute to generating severe back pain. The initial treatment of these so called “compression fractures” of the spine is with analgesic (pain killer) medication. However, a significant number of patients continue to have severe pain and disability.

Vertebral Augmentation Procedures

Over two decades ago, a radiological procedure called Vertebroplasty was first used to treat compression fractures of the spine secondary to osteoporosis. A relatively newer procedure called Kyphoplasty was then also developed for the same purpose. These procedures entail guiding a special needle under imaging guidance through the soft tissues of the back and then into the fractured vertebra.

Once in the body of the vertebra, bone cement is injected until good filling of the bone is obtained. In Kyphoplasty, prior to injecting the bone cement, inflating a balloon inside the bone makes a cavity. This aims to achieve more controlled cement injection into the bone. These procedures are performed by Interventional Radiologists in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia and intravenous sedation, with no need for hospitalization and discharge home from the outpatient center in about two hours. Approximately 85-95 percent of patients report significant to complete pain relief. The results of the procedure can be dramatic, as some patients experience complete pain resolution at the conclusion of the procedure.

Treatment of Painful Spine Metastasis

Many cancers may spread to bone, including the spine. These metastatic spinal lesions may cause significant pain because of tumor related effects, like releasing chemicals that stimulate pain pathways to our brain, directly compressing nerves and causing weakening of the bone that can lead to compression fracture. Recently, a new procedure for the palliation of painful metastatic spine lesions has been approved for use in Sylvester facilities.

Like Vertebroplasty/Kyphoplasty, the procedure consists in percutaneously accessing the vertebral body under imaging guidance. Once this is achieved, a special radio frequency probe is advanced through the access needle into the vertebral body and the tumor is ablated or “burned”. The vertebral body is then filled with bone cement to achieve stability if there is already a fracture or to prevent future compression fracture. This procedure is a good alternative for patients who cannot or do not want to receive radiation therapy to alleviate pain secondary to spinal metastasis.

Why Choose UHealth?

Expert care from highly trained interventional radiologists. Our interventional radiologists and radiology specialists are experts in a variety of minimally invasive procedures — everything from treatments to clear blocked blood vessels to advanced cancer therapies like NanoKnife®.

Leading-edge imaging care in South Florida. Our doctors are also researchers discovering new ways to improve diagnosis and treatment. That means you can get some of today’s most promising advancements through clinical trials. You benefit from the latest developments that are fast-tracked from the lab to the bedside.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.

What to Expect

Your interventional radiologist may tell you not to eat or take certain medicines, like aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), before your procedure. Always tell your doctor what medicines you’re taking, including vitamins or herbs.

You may be sedated or under general anesthesia (asleep) for this one-hour procedure. Your doctor also applies a local anesthetic to numb the area around the fracture so you won’t feel pain.

You lie face down on a table for the procedure. Once the anesthesia has taken effect, your interventional radiologist uses X-ray images to locate the fracture and guide a needle into the fracture. They then insert specialized cement into the fracture. The medical cement hardens quickly, within 20 minutes.

Once the procedure is complete, your doctor removes the needle and puts a bandage or dressing over the injection site. Typically, you can go home a few hours after your procedure (outpatient procedure) and return to normal activities the next day.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry First Health PPO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • Doctor's Healthcare Plan
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • Florida Community Care (FCC)
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Seasons Hospice
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care