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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > General Surgery & Neurosurgery > Spinal Compression Fracture Treatment

Spinal Compression Fracture Treatment Cost

How Much Does Spinal Compression Fracture Treatment Cost?

low costPain Medication: $50-$125+average costBack Brace or Physical Therapy: $10-$350high costSurgery: Up to $15,000
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Spinal compression fractures[1] otherwise known as a broken vertebrae, occur when the normal vertebrae of the spine collapse in height. The condition is most commonly caused by osteoporosis, but may also be the result of tumors or trauma to the back. Though most fractures can be treated by limiting activity and taking medications to address pain and stabilize bone density, some people may require additional treatment, such as surgery.

Typical costs:

  • Compression fractures caused by osteoporosis typically do not cause injury to the spinal cord, and can often be treated with pain medicines, such as Tramadol-Acetaminophen (Ultracet)[2] , which for uninsured patients, costs $34 on average in generic form and $125 on average under its brand name. For insured patients, typical out-of-pocket costs include a prescription drug copay, of $5 - $50 or more.
  • A doctor may also recommend a bisphosphonate, a class of medications used to treat osteoporosis, like Alendronate (Fosamax)[3] , about $10 a month for the generic version or about $80 a month for the brand-name version, to help prevent further damage.
  • Other treatments may include back braces or physical therapy. Per session, physical therapy typically costs $50- $350 for uninsured patients, or brings a copay of $10 -$75 for insured patients.
  • Surgery is rarely needed but may be recommended to address severe and disabling pain that does not improve with other treatments. Surgery can cost $2,500 - $15,000, depending on the procedure. The two most common procedures [4] are Vertebroplasty, in which a doctor injects bone cement into a partially collapsed vertebrae, and Kyphoplasty, in which a doctor uses an inflatable bone tamp to expand the collapsed vertebrae. Kyphoplasty is the more expensive procedure, costing about $5,000 more. One study[5] found average unadjusted inpatient costs to be $9,837 for vertebroplasty versus $13,187 for kyphoplasty and outpatient vertebroplasty to be $3,319 versus $8,100 for kyphoplasty.
  • Surgery typically is covered by health insurance. For insured patients, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of a specialist copay, possibly a hospital copay of $100 or more, and coinsurance of 10%-50% for the procedure, which could reach the yearly out-of-pocket maximum.
Related articles: Osteoporosis Treatments, Physical Therapy, X-Ray, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • A doctor will take the patient's complete history and give a physical exam to see which movements cause pain or other symptoms. If the doctor believes there is a compression fracture, an X-Ray or other imaging tests will be ordered.
  • Both Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty are minimally invasive, if surgery is needed.
  • offers a detailed overview of surgical and nonsurgical treatment[6] for the condition.
  • Many hospitals offer discounts of 30% or more to uninsured or cash-paying patients. At St. Joseph Hospital[7] in Orange, CA, for example, patients without health insurance may qualify for a 45% discount off billed charges. They'll also be offered an additional 10% discount if payment is made within 10 days of receiving a bill.
  • Some free clinics, such as Community Health Free Clinic[8] in Chicago, provide orthopedic or neurological specialty care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services[9] posts a directory of federally funded health centers; if the nearest clinic doesn't offer orthopedic care, ask for a referral.
Shopping for spinal compression fracture treatment:
  • The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery offers an orthopedic surgeon finder[10] by city, state or zip code. The American Board of Podiatric Surgery offers a doctor locator[11] . And the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine also offers a doctor locator[12] ; it is important to check board certification.
  • Healthwise offers a checklist [13] of questions patients can ask doctors while considering treatment.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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