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Health Beat: Polymer implants

Health Beat: Polymer implants

EDMOND, Okla. - Today, walking his dog is one of John Wallace's morning pleasures, but not long ago, it was just wishful thinking. Wallace suffered from a compression fracture caused by weakened bones.

"My spine had settled down on the nerve mass there and it was hurting all over my legs," Wallace said.

Dr. Douglas Beall, musculoskeletal radiologist, Musculoskeletal Imaging & Interventional, said pain from a compression fracture is common in the elderly.

"A compression fracture is like it would sound. It's like stepping on the top of a Coke can and scrunch it down," Beall said.

The procedure used on Wallace was the first new method of treating these fractures in the last decade. The incision is a small poke-hole.

"It goes in through a needle, and then the device goes in a little loop of wire in and over that wire goes artificial bone to provide a cast, and in that we inject medical cement. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to perform and the patients get immediate pain relief," Beall explained.

And for patients like Wallace, pain-free means more time with man's best friend.

"I would certainly be able to do anything that any other man that's approaching 88 would, would dare to do," Wallace said.

Beall said the surgery costs a fraction of the price of traditional surgery and gives the patients a better chance at avoiding deadly symptoms caused by inactivity, like pneumonia.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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