Health Headlines: Healing weak bones

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Published: May. 23, 2023 at 6:53 AM CDT
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Fractures can be painful and debilitating. For most people, the pain only lasts for months, but for some, pathologic fractures leave them with a lifetime of hurt. Pathologic fractures happen in bones that have already been weakened by disease, usually, cancer that has spread to the bone. Now, a breakthrough procedure is helping to stabilize one of the largest bones in the body and give relief to thousands of people.

Orthopedic oncologist Daniel Lerman, MD, is part of a team at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s who developed a minimally invasive pelvic stabilization procedure to ease this type of pain. People who have pathologic pelvic or sacrum fractures can face a lifetime of pain.

“This woman was at home, sneezed, sustained a pelvic fracture, and after that, she was wheelchair-bound and bedbound. She said she wished she could die because the pain was so bad,” Dr. Lerman empathetically recalls.

CT scans pinpoint the eroded bone. Through one-centimeter incisions, surgeons use bone cement and large screws to reinforce the area. They also use a balloon implant in areas where the bone is missing. It’s less invasive, patients wake up feeling better, and can leave the hospital the same day.

Dr. Lerman expresses, “When I have a patient who says their pain is so bad that they can’t even enjoy being with their family and then after the procedure, they’re home and they’re engaged in their normal activities, as a physician, there’s no greater thrill.”

Another benefit of this minimally invasive procedure is that patients are able to stay on their chemotherapies, radiation, and their immune therapies throughout the procedure, which is vital to keeping the patient cancer free, while helping them to be pain-free at the same time.

Contributors to this news report include Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer & Editor.