Kyphoplasty procedures by interventional radiologists on the rise

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Interventional radiologists are rapidly increasing their kyphoplasty procedure volumes, almost reaching the same level as spine surgeons, according to data released by Waltham, Mass.-based Millennium Research Group (MRG).

The market research firm said that in the past, spine surgeons performed the majority of kyphoplasty procedures, but that interventional radiologists are quickly closing the gap. According to Kevin Flewwelling, a senior analyst at MRG, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) may be one of the reasons for this trend.

Reimbursement for a variety of procedures performed by interventional radiologists was cut by DRA, which came into effect this January. As a result, interventional radiologists may be looking to perform more favorably reimbursed procedures such as kyphoplasty, Flewwelling said.

The company said its analysis of vertebral compression fracture treatments in the United States found that in the first quarter this year, the average number of kyphoplasty treatments performed in an interventional radiology facility was slightly over 9. In the second quarter this year, that number has risen to nearly 12, according to MRG.

As a result, the firm said, interventional radiology facilities accounted for nearly 47 percent of total kyphoplasty volumes captured by MRG’s survey sample for the first half of this year.