Mundane Doesn't Describe It

For the slackatudinally challenged.

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Location: United States

I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting. Mark Twain, Hard work doesn't harm anyone, but I do not want to take any chances. - Unknown, I am retired and have tried to do as little as possible - slowly. Me.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I'm Not 20 Years Old Anymore

I think some of you already know, but my visit to the doctor’s office finally provided the reason for the back pain I’ve been experiencing. After a MRI for the x-rays, I met the Orthopedic Doctor. He showed me on the x-rays where I had a Vertebral Compression Fracture. In other words I broke a vertebra when I tried to lift the front end of a riding lawnmower. Actually I feel vindicated now that I have a diagnosis for my back pain. I was feeling the family was getting tired of hearing me say ouch whenever I moved. The Doctor gave me all sorts of treatments but was pushing one called Balloon Kyphoplasty.

How the Balloon Works

Balloon Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive treatment in which orthopaedic balloons are used to gently elevate the bone fragments in an attempt to return them to the correct position.

With a hollow instrument, the surgeon creates a small pathway into the fractured bone. A small, orthopaedic balloon is guided through the instrument into the vertebra. The incision site is approximately 1 cm in length.

balloon placement
Balloon placement

Next, the balloon is carefully inflated in an attempt to raise the collapsed vertebra and return it to its normal position.

full inflation
Full inflation

Once the vertebra is in the correct position, the balloon is deflated and removed. This process creates a void (cavity) within the vertebral body.

void within vertebral body
Void within vertebral body

The cavity is filled with a special cement to support the surrounding bone and prevent further collapse.

filling the cavity with cement
Filling the cavity with cement

The cement forms an internal cast that holds the vertebra in place. Generally, the procedure is done on both sides of the vertebral body.

internal cast
The internal cast



To say the least, I’m a little concerned about this procedure. Cabin Girl looked up a link last night and it said the procedure will last for about 2 years. That’s a big draw back for me. The doctor also told me that it would probably be an outpatient procedure. He said Blue Cross says outpatient, medicare says hospital and he's waiting to find out what my insurance says. I then went on to asking him what the prognosis for this procedure is. He told me that it is a 95% success rate, that he has done over 500 of these procedures and then he told me about infection rates and so on. He covered the whole gambit which made me happy. I hate to have to draw out every single piece of information from a doctor. This doctor did good and covered every question I had even before I asked them. He already had one point in his favor before I ever saw him. He's the same surgeon that removed a small tumor from FMom's spine a couple of years ago. I can remember being impressed with him then, so I'm hoping this time that impression is justified.

So it looks like I'm going to go ahead and have the procedure done. I'm getting really sick of hurting every time I move and this look like it fills the ticket. I'm still waiting to see when it will be done and the end of next week looks good. I'll let everyone know how it went.

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