Cement: The Secret to Fixing Fractures
More than 25-million Americans have osteoporosis. It's a condition that makes bones weak and puts patients at risk for dangerous and painful fractures. But now, a new procedure uses cement to heal broken bones in the pelvis. Doctor Michael DePalma works at the VCU Spine Center in Richmond, Virginia. He says pelvic fractures are common in people with osteoporosis. 14 percent of these patients will die within a year, and half won't ever be able to function the same. Doctor DePalma is using cement to fix pelvic fractures. In about a 30-minute procedure, he places two to three bone needles in the pelvis. Then, he injects synthetic cement directly into the fracture. The cement stabilizes the broken bone and reduces pain. In doctor DePalma's clinical trial, patients had a 50-percent reduction in their back pain just one hour after having the procedure and an 85-percent reduction after one year. Risks include bleeding, infection or having the bone cement escape. However, doctor DePalma said in his clinical trial, he never experienced any of these.