Virginia Jenkins vividly recalls the searing pain a spinal compression fracture caused her mother. So when Virginia woke up one morning and screamed in pain as she tried to get out of bed, memories of her mother’s compression fracture came flooding back to her—and with good reason.
Virginia suffers from osteoporosis, just as her mother had. The brittle bones in her back are easily susceptible to fracture. But unlike other bones in the body, broken vertebrae in the back generally crumble rather than fracture in two.
Virginia believes her compression fracture was the result of sitting for more than eight straight hours on a trans-Atlantic flight. “I didn’t have any pain when I got off the plane, but the next day it was excruciating,” she recalled.
An MRI confirmed Virginia’s suspicions. Within days, she was in Dr. Daniel Kendall’s McLean, Virginia office. Dr. Kendall recommended kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive interventional procedure that would correct the spinal compression fracture and relieve her pain.
Using x-ray guidance, Dr. Kendall guided a needle to the fractured bone and then inserted a small, orthopedic balloon into the vertebra and inflated the balloon to raise the collapsed bone to regain height. He removed the balloon and filled the resulting cavity with a special cement that stabilized the vertebra, making it among the strongest bones in her body.
“Dr. Kendall said it is like using super glue to repair the bone,” she said. “It worked. I felt almost immediate relief.”
Now Virginia is able to do the things she enjoys, such as gardening and visiting her grandchildren.
“It is not at all like it was when my mother had her fracture. I went home right after the procedure. I only wish my mother could have enjoyed the same relief.”