Treatments for Spinal Fractures and Pain

Offering options to stabilize the spine, improve mobility and function, and provide rapid, effective pain relief

Read about Carol, one of the first patients in Western New York to benefit from the combination of two groundbreaking pain intervention techniques in a single session

Many patients with advanced cancer suffer compression fractures of the vertebrae (bones of the spine), causing significant pain, limited mobility and diminished quality of life. We offer several minimally invasive treatments to address these problems, including:

Spinal radiofrequency ablation

Also referred to as thermal ablation, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) uses a probe to deliver an electrical current to destroy (ablate) tissue with heat. Roswell Park has used RFA techniques to treat tumors in soft tissues for years. An advanced procedure — vertebral radiofrequency ablation (V-RFA) — uses the probe in the spine to heat the sensory nerves and decrease pain signals from a specific area.

Spinal radiofrequency ablation is performed by specially trained neuroradiologists. It is typically an outpatient procedure that takes about 1 hour. Patients usually go home 2 to 3 hours later.


Also referred to a vertebral augmentation, in a kyphoplasty procedure, the physician injects a liquid bone cement into the tiny fractures of the bone to stabilize the spine and relieve pain. Roswell Park offers an advanced option — balloon kyphoplasty — which inflates a tiny balloon to reposition the vertebra. The balloon is removed, and bone cement is injected into the resulting space. This option also corrects spinal curvature caused by a collapsed vertebra.

Kyphoplasty is performed by specially trained neuroradiologists. It is typically an outpatient procedure that takes about 1 hour.

Nerve blocks and other spine pain relief

For patients who are not able to have radiofrequency ablation or kyphoplasty, or who have pain that’s unrelated to their cancer or a fracture, other options for pain relief may include:

  • Nerve blocks. Injecting an anesthetic medication into the nerve roots of the affected area can relieve pain for up to 3 months. Nerve blocks can be performed without sedation and take approximately 10 minutes.
  • Rhizotomy. A type of focal nerve heating or freezing procedure, that can relieve nerve pain from arthritis, disk disease, chest surgery or rib fractures for up to a year in properly selected patients.
  • Pain management including use of intrathecal pain pumps, spinal cord stimulators and medicines.

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