Spine Health & Pain Relief
Spine Health & Pain Relief
If you have chronic and debilitating back pain due to vertebral compression fractures (VCF) or a metastatic spinal tumor, interventional radiology offers several treatments that can provide quick and long-term pain relief. At Vascular and Interventional partners in Scottsdale, AZ, our team is highly experienced in treating back pain with minimally invasive outpatient procedures using advanced interventional radiology (IR) techniques.
What Are IR Spine Treatments?
There are many causes of back pain, just two of which are VCF and tumor metastases. VCF is a fracture of bones that form the spinal column called the vertebrae. With VCF, the bone essentially caves in on itself, due to osteoporosis or a tumor, irritating surrounding nerves and causing pain. Tumor metastases in the vertebrae can also cause fractures and other problems.
IR offers several non-surgical treatments for pain caused by VCF or tumors. These procedures are minimally invasive, safe and performed on an outpatient basis. Two treatments that we offer at our clinic include:
- Spinal Tumor Ablation — During a spinal tumor ablation, your doctor uses real-time X-ray imaging and catheters to locate the tumor in a vertebra. After that, they use probes to heat the tumor with radiofrequency energy.
- Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty — These are two very similar procedures used in the treatment of VCF. During each, your doctor uses image guidance to locate the fracture and to inject bone cement in order to stabilize the fracture. Kyphoplasty additionally aims to restore lost bone height.
- Spine Jack system —Patients with acute compression fractures that have developed severe acute angle kyphosis (leaning forward due to a wedged VCF) may be candidates for Vertebral body height restoration. This novel therapy has become more effective than kyphoplasty especially for height restoration.
Benefits of IR Spine Procedures
Patients with VCF or metastatic spinal tumors have many treatment options to help manage their condition and pain, including surgery, pain medication and conservative therapy. However, these approaches do not always work and some may not be suitable for all patients. IR procedures offer an effective and safe alternative. Other benefits of IR spine procedures include:
- As minimally invasive treatments, these procedures do not involve large excisions or general anesthesia.
- Minimal downtime with quick recovery and no large scars.
- Generally safe and with few risks compared to open surgery.
- IR spine procedures are usually performed on an outpatient basis for convenience.
- All treatments are covered by most insurance providers and Medicare.
- IR procedures are proven to be effective and safe in providing long-term pain relief.
Another benefit of IR spine procedures is that it offers hope to patients who are not candidates for surgery and are not finding pain relief with other treatments. IR spine procedures are also compatible with many invasive treatments and medications.
Why Choose Vascular and Interventional Partners?
At Vascular and Interventional Partners in Scottsdale, AZ, you will get expert care from the most respected IR division in the state. Our team of five leading IRs is experienced in a wide range of minimally invasive procedures, including those meant to relieve back pain caused by fractures and metastases.
All our doctors are certified by the American Board of Radiology and are members of professional organizations, like the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) and the Outpatient Endovascular and Interventional Society (OEIS). Our team is also heavily involved in research at the University of Arizona College of Medicine as well as teaching.
Our patients are at the center of everything we do. That is why we have decided to make minimally invasive procedures easily available through our private practice. At our clinic, you will be greeted by a friendly staff that also includes curbside drop-off and pick-up as well as personal concierge service.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are IR spine treatments effective?
Absolutely yes! Studies have consistently shown that these procedures effectively reduce and even eliminate pain in the majority of treated patients. What is more, the pain reduction is felt within days after treatment and often lasts for six months and beyond. However, the treatment seems to be most effective with acute fractures that are less than eight weeks old.
Are IR spine treatments safe?
Research has also found that IR spine treatments are safe and have few complications. Compared to open surgery, there is a lower risk of infections, bleeding and complications from anesthesia. When complications do occur, they are usually minor and easy to manage. Severe complications like paralysis and embolism occur in less than one percent of treated patients.
What can I expect during treatment?
During the procedure, you will lie face-down on a padded table. You will receive local anesthesia and IV sedation before the procedure begins. Your IR doctor will make a small cut above the affected vertebra. With the help of X-ray guidance, they will place a needle into the damaged vertebra to administer treatment. The whole treatment should take one to two hours to complete.
How do I know if I am good candidate for IR spine treatments?
You will initially spend a couple of hours in the recovery room before being discharged on the same day as your procedure. At home, you should rest for a day or two before gradually increasing physical activity. Any pain and discomfort will be easy to manage with over-the-counter pain medication and rest. You will likely return to your usual routine within a week.
Do I need a referral to get treated?
In most cases, you will need a referral from your GP for a consultation and imaging tests at our clinic. But if you are self-paying, you do not need a referral and can book an appointment with us directly.
Are IR spine procedures covered by insurance?
IR procedures for the treatment of fracture- or tumor-caused back pain are normally covered by most insurance companies and Medicare. Contact your insurer before your treatment to get authorization. You will also need a referral letter from your GP to get insurance coverage.