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Novel Technique To Revolutionize Treatment Of Spinal Tumors

A new technique that could treat fractured vertebrae associated with spinal tumors has been developed by a radiologist// at the University of California. Fracture of the vertebrae is a common feature in 5 to 10 % of patients with malignant tumors of the spine.

Wade Wong, D.O.F.A.C.R, UCSD professor of radiology, and San Diego clinician Bassem Georgy, M.D., partially removed spinal tumors from 28 patients before repairing the spine with vertebroplasty – a procedure to cement and stabilize damaged vertebrae. He used a technology that utilizes plasma-mediated radiofrequency energy combined with saline solution to gently and precisely remove soft tissue at low temperature – minimizing damage to healthy tissue.

‘This image-guided procedure guarantees ultimate accuracy,’ said Wong. It enables us to provide pain relief and improved mobility to patients while minimizing risks that have traditionally limited treatment options for cancer patients.’

Wong will present his study on May 6 at the American Society of Interventional and Therapeutic Neuroradiology (ASITN.) He added that some patients in the study who were previously bedridden became much more active after their fractures were repaired using this method, increasing their overall quality of life.

Vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) are common complications of spinal tumors. Approximately 10 percent of the estimated one million VCFs that occur each year in the United States are caused by spinal metastases. Unfortunately, spinal tumors present challenges that traditionally have left many cancer patients with very few treatment options. Open surgery is invasive and involves a long recovery. Traditional vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty – two procedures that utilize bone cement to stabilize the fractured vertebrae – are also risky when a tumor is present, because the procedures can cause cancerous cells to spread into the blood stream. They also carry a higher risk of bone ce
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