Thursday, January 13, 2011

Insurance won't cover Sacroplasty? We have a solution.

I recently had a patient ask if I performed many sacroplasties. The answer is absolutely. I counted 22 patients that we performed sacroplasty on in 2010. I have two patients scheduled for sacroplasty in the next two weeks.

Sacroplasty was part of my fellowship training and I often get referred sacral fractures from other doctors around the state as well as in Tulsa. For example, we often have patients come from out of state or patients may be referred by other pain specialists in town because they don't perform this procedure. We even get patients transferred from local hospitals. Of the two specialty hospitals I operate at in Tulsa, I am the only one I'm aware of who performs sacroplasty at either location.

Sacroplasty is typically done as an outpatient and takes me about 15 minutes to perform in most cases. Patients can go home after a brief monitoring period and resume their normal activities generally on the next day.

We often see patients for osteoporotic fractures who are confined to nursing homes because of decreased mobility. It's very gratifying to be able to help these patients, because if that's the only reason they are in a nursing home, they can usually go back to their homes afterward. In fact, I have been able to get more patients out of a nursing home and back home with sacroplasty than with any other procedure that I do. I think the reason is that sacral fractures affect the entire pelvic ring and more often progress to unstable lesions than vertebral fractures.

Unfortunately, although sacroplasty is a proven, effective treatment for sacral insufficiency fractures, many insurances won't cover it. In that case, we have a cash pay arrangement in clinic with a 30% discount for upfront payment. If you or someone you love has a painful sacral insufficiency fracture, call (918) 260-9322 for more details.

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