Balloon Kyphoplasty Helps Seniors End Pain

Adrienne DiPiazza

Updated 10 months ago

“I’d tell you I feel like I might as well lay down and die if I couldn’t be active and do what I want,” says Marjorie Weeman.

It’s that attitude that has 78-year-old Marjorie Weeman working outside everyday.

“Lugging trees and bushes even taking that thing off our lawn mower those bags they’re heavy for a guy she’s out there doing it,” says Marjorie’s sister, Shirely Hewins.

Shirely says one day the pain was just too much.

“She complains when she gets up in the morning not to anybody…she can hardly move right Marg?” Shirely said, laughing.

Marjorie had a spinal fracture, and according to doctors was one of 700,000 people around the country with the same problem, but she didn’t know it.

“I had terrible pain, that was with me all the time wouldn’t leave me,” Marjorie explained.

Dr. Ben Zolper in Bangor is an expert in Marjorie’s condition, and says most fractures like hers go un-diagnosed and untreated.

“Would you ever conceive of only treating a small proportion of broken arms, you would never do that,” says Zolper.

Thankfully, there is a quick and relatively easy fix for the hundreds of elderly women with osteoperosis like Marjorie. It’s called Balloon Kyphoplasty, and it has roots in Bangor.

“Dr. Zolper and I have both done hundreds of these and are both instructors at national conferences about the procedure”

The surgery uses a balloon to lift up the broken piece of the spine.

“One of the balloons is inflated and it’s filling a space into which we’re going to inject the cement,” says Zolper.

The procedure takes less than two hours and Marjorie says she’s back in the yard, raking leaves.

“I like to work, I’m not afraid of it,” Marjorie says.

Doctors say after the procedure the spine is supported and solid. Patients typically experience very little pain from the fractured area.

 


MENU