IMAGINE CONSTANT PAIN SO SEVERE IT CHANGES YOUR LIFE. THAT'S WHAT MANY PEOPLE WHO'VE FRACTURED A VERTEBRAE LIVE WITH EVERY DAY.
FROM CAR WRECKS TO OSTEOPOROSIS TO CANCER, THE FRACTURES CAN BE CAUSED BY MANY THINGS BUT THERE WASN'T MUCH OUT THERE TO HELP PEOPLE.
DOCTORS NOW HAVE A WAY TO FILL THEIR PATIENTS' PAIN RELIEF NEEDS.
TONIGHT'S HEALTHCAST EXPLAINS.
RUNNING, FISHING, RAISING HORSES, NOTHING COULD STOP THIS FOSTER MOM OF SIX.
"I didn't have any worries about health."
THEN ONE DAY...
"It happened so fast. Bing. Bing. Bing. One day I was healthy, the next I was in the hospital, the next day I had broken bones."
WITHIN SIX MONTHS, MARY ANN WEYER WAS DIAGNOSED WITH MULTIPLE MYELOMA, A TYPE OF CANCER WHERE PLASMA CELLS IN THE BLOOD GROW RAPIDLY AND CAUSE BONE DESTRUCTION. RADIATION SENT HER CANCER INTO REMISSION, BUT SHE WAS LEFT WITH SIX SPINAL FRACTURES.
"I had no idea what people went through when they had pain, until it happened to me. For me the cancer wasn't scary. It was the idea of not being able to take care of myself and being incapacitated."
INTERVENTIONAL NEURORADIOLOGIST, DOCTOR MARCEL MAYA AT CEDARS SINAI USES BALLOON KYPHOPLASTY TO FIX THE PROBLEM. "This is an internal cast, where we put cement inside the fractured spine."
IT'S NON-SURGICAL, SO THERE ARE NO INCISIONS. INSTEAD, FOUR NEEDLES ARE INSERTED INTO MARY ANN'S BACK, CREATING A SMALL PATHWAY TO THE FRACTURES. ORTHOPEDIC BALLOONS ARE INSERTED AND INFLATED.
"You can see the balloon getting thicker."
THEN THE CEMENT FILLS THE OPENED AREA.
"You see the cement filling the spine and restoring the normal height and strength."
TWO HOURS AFTER THE PROCEDURE, MARY ANN'S ON HER WAY HOME, SCAR FREE, PAIN FREE AND READY TO LIVE AGAIN.
"To not have pain, is to have life."
BESIDES THIS TREATMENT THERE IS LITTLE HELP FOR PEOPLE WITH SPINAL FRACTURES.
THEY ARE BASICALLY TOLD TO GO HOME AND REST. RECOVERY CAN TAKE ONE TO THREE MONTHS.
WITH BALLOON KYPHOPLASTY, RECOVERY IS USUALLY LESS THAN TEN DAYS.
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