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Clifford Howard, Jr., MD

Clifford Howard, Jr., MD, is a national leader in minimally invasive, image-guided spinal procedures. Through collaboration with industry partners, he develops vascular devices to improve surgical procedures, evaluates new approaches for vascular and interventional radiology and teaches procedures for radiofrequency ablation and vertebral implant placement.

Clifford Howard, Jr., MD

About Clifford Howard

Clifford Howard, Jr., MD, worked in the field of radiologic imaging first as a vascular, interventional and magnetic resonance imaging technologist after college. To further pursue his interest in radiology, he earned a medical degree from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in 2002. He started a residency in diagnostic radiology at Howard University Hospital and transferred to Wake Forest School of Medicine to complete his training and pursue a fellowship in interventional radiology. Howard worked as a diagnostic radiologist at Blue Ridge HealthCare for five years before joining Wake Forest School of Medicine’s radiologic sciences department in 2012 to focus on interventional procedures and clinical research.

An expert in minimally invasive image-guided procedures, Howard is among the few physicians nationwide to treat spinal tumors using the STAR™ Tumor Ablation System. The treatment used targeted radiofrequency ablation to provide palliative pain relief for metastatic vertebral body tumors. He also specializes in vertebral augmentation to repair pathologic and osteoporotic spine fractures and the surgical placement and management of the Denver shunt to treat recurrent ascites—or excess fluid—in the abdominal cavity.

Howard’s clinical expertise extends into his research efforts. He is the principal investigator of a multi-center clinical study evaluating the treatment of metastatic vertebral lesions with radiofrequency ablation and vertebral augmentation prior to and after radiation therapy. He also evaluates the accuracy of bioelectrical conductance devices to noninvasively detect lung cancer through a national industry-funded trial.

Developing vascular devices to improve surgical procedures and associated post-operative complications is central to Howard’s technology pioneering efforts. He invented Fix8, a non-migrating stent platform for treating strictures that provides precise and secure placement. Instead of a typical self-expanding deployment, two sets of anchoring hooks are deployed separately at either end of the stent using balloon dilation. He is also involved in designing stent technologies for central venous stenosis.

Through industry partnerships, Howard cultivates new approaches for vascular and interventional radiology by translating his expertise in minimally invasive procedures into product development innovation. He is actively involved in collaborations where he evaluates and designs technologies and teaches procedures for radiofrequency ablation of spinal tumors and vertebral implant placement.



Clifford Howard, Jr., MD, assistant professor of radiologic sciences, specializes in:

  • Interventional radiology
  • Diagnostic radiology
  • Radiofrequency ablation of spinal tumors
  • Vertebral augmentation
  • Treatment of recurrent ascites
  • Vascular, biliary enteric and urologic interventions
  • Non-migrating stents