Fifty percent of women and 25% of men will suffer a compression fracture in their lifetime. Many times it’s their spine that bears the brunt. Patients are usually elderly people who have osteoporosis or soft bones.

“Once they develop this fracture it’s extremely painful. It’s difficult to do daily activities. It’s difficult to get out of bed, it’s difficult to get in to bed, bathing is difficult,” says Dr. Paul Fuchs. He is an orthopedic surgeon on medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.

Almost every movement is difficult, though sustaining a fracture takes little effort.

“Maybe they sit down vigorously on a sofa, or step off of a curb, maybe they didn’t see the bottom of a step, they’re carrying a heavy bag of groceries and they can sustain a fracture,” says Dr. Fuchs.

There is now a relatively fast fix for fractures. A procedure called kyphoplasty reinforces the bone from the inside. Sometimes called internal casting, it addresses the break and alleviates pain.

“We’ll put a small balloon into the fracture and try and re-create the proper alignment. And then fill the bone with bone cement to try and harden the bone. Essentially heal the fracture within minutes.”

With a minimally invasive approach, patients are less likely to experience dangerous symptoms caused by inactivity—like pneumonia.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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