From 1 November 2021, there will be a new MBS item 35401 for vertebroplasty for the treatment of a painful thoracolumbar vertebral compression fracture of the thoracolumbar spinal segment (T11, T12, L1 or L2) in patients where pain is severe and has had a duration of three weeks or less, symptoms are poorly controlled by opiate therapy and there is MRI (or SPECT-CT if MRI is unavailable) evidence of acute vertebral fracture.

The listing of this service was recommended by the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) in April 2020. Further details about MSAC applications can be found under MSAC Applications on the MSAC website (www.msac.gov.au).

What does this mean for providers?

This service is to be performed by interventional radiologists. Practitioners should be registered with and provide relevant service data to the Vertebroplasty MBS Service Monitor (the Monitor) managed by IRSA. If you perform these services and have not advised IRSA please contact us as soon as possible secretariat@irsa.com.au

The objective of the Monitor is to capture data relating to services of item 35401 including patient age, patient sex, provider name and state of practice, duration of fracture before the procedure, in-patient or out-patient status at the time the decision was made to perform the procedure, and adverse events related to the procedure that require additional hospitalisation or medical treatment.

IRSA will share this data with the Department of Health in six-month intervals for the lifetime of the Monitor.

The Monitor has been established by agreement of the Department of Health and IRSA, on the advice of MSAC.

How will these changes affect patients?

Patients will receive Medicare rebates for clinically relevant vertebroplasty services.

To view the Department of Health Fact sheet click here

IRSA Vertebroplasty MBS Service Monitor Management Committee

IRSA has set up a Vertebroplasty Management Committee to manage responsibilities as required by the Department of Health in relation to the Vertebroplasty Service Monitor for the provision of funded vertebroplasty services.

Members of the Management Committee are:

Dr John Vrazas 

Chair of the Committee. John is a vastly experienced interventional radiologist who has trained in both Australia and the United States. Past president of IRSA and long-time member of the IRSA executive.

A/Prof Terry Diamond                 

Experience clinical and academic endocrinologist. Author of three vertebroplasty trials. Expert advisor to the IRSA MSAC application of vertebroplasty. Founder of the Sydney Osteoporosis Support Association.

Kristine Carroll – Patient advocate

Kristine is a registered nurse with 40-years of experience in nursing. Her mother and mother-in-law have both had vertebroplasties in the past. She understands vertebroplasty and is well versed in all aspects of patient care from a nursing perspective.

Dr Helen Kavnoudias   

Research Director Radiology. Alfred Hospital Melbourne. Medical research scientist who is co-ordinating establishment, ethics and data collection for the vertebroplasty monitor.

Dr Nick Repin

Experienced interventional radiologist from Regional NSW. Has vast experience with software development and medical data collection. He is the designer of the on-line procedural log-book / clinical diary used by IRSA.

Dr William Clark

Experienced Interventional Radiologist. 20 years of experience in using vertebroplasty for patients with acute severe pain. Author of the VAPOUR trial and IRSE representative in the MSAC vertebroplasty application.