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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Arthritis Channel
Reported May 18, 2010

Cement: The Secret To Fixing Fractures?

RICHMOND, Va. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- 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. A new procedure uses cement to heal broken bones in the pelvis. 

Fifty years ago, this was Carolyn Purdie.

"I certainly did look good, I must say," Purdie told Ivanhoe. "I just thought I was an old lady, and half of my bones were going bad."
At 85, Purdie is still young at heart, but osteoporosis has made her feel her age in the last few years.

Purdie has fractured bones in her back, her wrist, her leg, her shoulder, and -- most recently -- her pelvis. The pain was intense.

"I got to the point that I couldn't walk anymore, and they had to put me in a wheelchair," Purdie recalled.

Doctor Michal Depalma says pelvic fractures are common in people with osteoporosis. Fourteen 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.

"Patients are able to function better on a daily basis,” DePalma, Medical Director at VCU Spine Center in Richmond, VA explained. “This is one of the most rewarding procedures we do."

Purdie noticed an immediate improvement. She said goodbye to her wheelchair and has her independence back.

"Well, it's life-changing when you're in a wheelchair and then you're able to get out of it," Purdie said.
Now, she feels more like she did in years past.

Risks include bleeding, infection or having the bone cement escape. However, Doctor Depalma said in his clinical trial, he never experienced any of these.

Doctors got the idea for this pelvic procedure from vertebroplasty, a similar method where cement is injected into the spine.

For additional research on this article, click here.

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If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Melissa Medalie at




Malorie Janis, Public Relations Specialist
VCU Medical Center
Richmond, VA
(804) 827-0889

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