Helping Weak Bones Heal


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Fractures can be painful and debilitating. For most people, the pain only lasts for months, but for some, pathologic fractures leave them with a lifetime of hurt. Pathologic fractures happen in bones that have already been weakened by disease – usually cancer that has spread to the bone. Now, a breakthrough procedure is helping to stabilize one of the largest bones in the body and give relief to thousands of people. Weak bones

Orthopedic oncologist Daniel Lerman, MD, is part of a team at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s who developed a minimally invasive pelvic stabilization procedure to ease this type of pain. People who have pathologic pelvic or sacrum fractures can face a lifetime of pain.

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“This woman was at home, sneezed, sustained a pelvic fracture, and after that, she was wheelchair bound and bedbound. She said she wished she could die because the pain was so bad,” Dr. Lerman empathetically recalls.

CT scans pinpoint the eroded bone. Through one centimeter incisions, surgeons use bone cement and large screws to reinforce the area. They also use a balloon implant in areas where the bone is missing. It’s less invasive, patients wake up feeling better, and can leave the hospital the same day.

Dr. Lerman expresses, “When I have a patient who says their pain is so bad that they can’t even enjoy being with their family and then after the procedure, they’re home and they’re engaged in their normal activities, as a physician, there’s no greater thrill.”

Another benefit of this minimally invasive procedure is that patients are able to stay on their chemotherapies, radiation, and their immune therapies throughout the procedure, which is vital to keeping the patient cancer free, while helping them to be pain-free at the same time. Weak bones

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer & Editor.

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BACKGROUND: A pathologic fracture is a break in a bone that is caused by an underlying disease, like cancer that has spread to the bones. For the most part, bones need a reason to break – for example, a significant trauma, though, some diseases weaken the bones of the spine. Thus, forces as slight as the weight of the body or a minor trauma that would otherwise be tolerated can cause a fracture in the diseased bone. Pathologic fractures occur in 8% to 30% of patients with bone metastases and 50% of pathologic fractures occur in the femur, and 15% occur in the humerus.


SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS: Symptoms of pathologic fractures can vary for patients and some patients may not have any symptoms at all. If you do experience symptoms, they may include pain in back, legs, or arms, and/ neurological impairment such as numbness and/or weakness in the arms or legs if the fracture has affected the spinal cord and/or nerves in the spine. To diagnose a pathologic fracture, your doctor may conduct a series of tests. A few tests include an X-ray, an MRI, a CT scan, or nuclear bone scan, which is when a radioactive substance is injected into the body to measure activity in the bones.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: Daniel Lerman, MD at the Institute for Limb Preservation at Presbyterian St. Luke’s and colleagues are using the latest tech in 3D reconstruction imaging and AI to perform percutaneous tumor ablation and skeletal fixation for pathologic fractures of the pelvis. Using unsurpassed accuracy and pinpoint incisions, doctors are able to improve a patient’s pain, function and quality of life by eradicating the tumor and providing bony stability with the use of orthopedic screws and bone cement. Through a minimally invasive approach they are pioneering a solution for patients who previously had no bone stability and were ultimately crippled by cancer eroding their pelvis bone.



Tana Sykes

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 Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Dr. Daniel Lerman, Orthopedic Oncologist

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