New Intervention Helps Seal Spinal Fractures


Vol. 10, No. 3
September, 2000

  • Photodynamic Therapy: A Ray of Hope for Cancer Patients

  • Baclofen Pump Relieves Severe Muscle Stiffness

  • New Intervention Helps Seal Spinal Fractures

  • Winthrop’s Program of Radiography Accepts Applications

  • The Pediatric Special Care Unit
    A Regional Resource for Children Requiring Intensive Care

  • Neonatologist Awarded $2.186 Million for Multi-center Study

  • Prostate Cancer Screening Planned

  • Ambulatory Surgery Unit Now Operational

  • Parent Alert: Four-to-Eight-Year-Olds Need Booster Seats in Cars

  • New Poison Control Website

  • October is Breast Health Month

  • September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month

  • Nurse Specialist Group
    An Educational Resource

  • More than 500 Celebrate Cancer Survivors Day

  • Board Member Theodora Hooten Receives Trustee of the Year” Award

  • New Conference Center and Library Dedicated

  • “Evidence-Based Medicine” Training Grant

  • Winthrop President and CEO Honored by Metropolitan Health Administrators’ Association

  • Hospital Volunteers Needed

  • An Enchanted Evening

  • Copyright

    Back to Publications


  • In this lateral X-ray of the spine, a needle (the horizontal line, midway, left to center) is placed within a partially collapsed vertebral body. The dark, round body, visible in the center of the image, is the opacified cement, which was injected into the partially collapsed vertebra.
    Percutaneous vertebroplasty, a relatively new, minimally invasive medical procedure, is currently performed at Winthrop, to relieve the back pain suffered by men and women with osteoporosis or cancer of the bones. Typically, these patients have developed compression fractures of the spine, which can be extremely painful. The procedure has an 80% success rate.

    At Winthrop, percutaneous vertebroplasty is performed by A. Orlando Ortiz, MD, MBA, Chairman of the Department of Radiology, and Donald Price, MD, Chief, Neuroradiology Section. Both radiologists are Board certified and have undergone advanced training and certification in the performance of percutaneous vertebroplasty. An outpatient procedure, percutaneous vertebroplasty requires local anesthesia and mild intravenous sedation. Only a small skin incision is needed. The patient remains awake throughout the 45-minute procedure. Patients can return home after a four- hour recovery period at the Hospital.

    Using X-ray guidance, the medical practitioner inserts a delicate needle into the spinal area, directly into the partially compressed vertebral body, and injects a sterile, bio-compatible liquid cement. Similar to an acrylic in function, the substance seals the fracture.

    “The injected cement forms an ‘internal cast’ within the vertebral body, strengthening it and providing pain relief. It helps relieve the symptoms, but cannot correct osteoporosis,” explained Garry Schwall, RPAC, Administrator for Surgical Services. “The procedure cannot prevent future injury to other vertebral levels.”

    As the treatment is specifically for symptomatic vertebral body compression fractures, vertebroplasty is not provided for other causes of back pain, such as disc degeneration or herniation.

    Patients who are wondering whether the procedure would help them must undergo preliminary X-ray examination and MRI scans. A pre-procedure consultation at Winthrop includes a complete review of X-rays and MRI scans; a physical examination of the back, legs, and arms; a complete explanation of the procedure; the obtaining of the patient’s informed consent; and pre-procedure laboratory blood tests.

    “At Winthrop, the Institute for Neurosciences combines the clinical, educational, and research capabilities of several related disciplines, including the Divisions of Neuroradiology, Neurosurgery, and Neurology. With the further development of the Institute for Neurosciences, these disciplines will be even more closely aligned, making possible the sharing of knowledge, the introduction of more sophisticated techniques and procedures, and the acquisition of advanced technology, such as vertebroplasty.”

    For further information on percutaneous vertebroplasty, contact Garry Schwall, RPAC, at (516) 663-3893.

    Winthrop’s Program of Radiography Accepts Applications


    Winthrop’s Program of Radiography is now accepting applications for the September, 2001 class. Interested individuals may request information and an application packet by writing to Winthrop-University Hospital, Program of Radiography, 259 First Street, Mineola, NY 11501 or e-mailing the Program at vedele@winthrop.org.

    The Program of Radiography is a 2-year, full-time day program approved by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology and the New York State Department of Health. The program is limited to 10 students per year.



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