HIBBING — With the arrival of Dr. Christopher Reilly at Fairview Range Medical Center (FRMC), also ushered in is a new service in the area of pain management.

FRMC now offers kyphoplasty, which the healthcare provider describes as “a minimally invasive treatment that can repair spinal fractures caused by osteoporosis, cancer or benign lesions – conditions that may cause pain, height loss and stooped posture.”

Kyphoplasty can be an effective treatment to restore alignment, relieve pain and prevent further injury associated with osteoporosis.

“Dr. Reilly has joined our team from Chicago, where was born and raised and he attended Northwestern,” said Betsy Verant, RN. “He brings these new services to our area, which is so very exciting.”

Patients who would benefit most from this procedure are typically older individuals who have thin bones and back fractures from normal, daily activities or as the result of mild trauma, she said.

“If you’ve experienced severe back pain and height loss due to back injury or bone loss, talk to your provider to receive an order for a pain management consultation with the radiologist, who can tell you if kyphoplasty can help alleviate back pain,” said Laura Emahiser, diagnostic imaging manager at FRMC. “We can help make a difference in your quality of life and put strides back in your footfalls.”

During the kyphoplasty procedure, orthopedic balloons are used to gently elevate the fractured vertebra. The aim is to return the fractured vertebra to the correct position. Bone cement is then injected to stabilize the fracture.

The overall goal of this procedure is to restore the original shape of backbones and relieve pain from spinal injury.

Recent studies point to kyphoplasty having dramatically reduced risk and increased, immediate pain reduction compared to other treatments.

“Many of the things I do for people’s pain are temporary or only help part of their pain,” said Reilly. “This is my favorite procedure because it results in permanent near complete resolution of pain.”

Verant said the success rate of kyphoplasty is 95 percent-plus on the appropriate patient. That percentage is also supported in literature, she added.

“I have spoken with patients who had this procedure done and have heard it is a miracle,” said Verant. “One woman went from not being able to move out of bed without crying in pain to up walking around her house the next morning reporting she was feeling great.”

A patient can resume normal activities within a day or two after the procedure.

“These fractures often heal on their own, but the healing process and the pain lasts for nine months and longer,” said Reilly. “The kyphoplasty accelerates healing and drastically reduces pain within the first 24 hours.”

The risk of this procedure is the possibility of refracturing a different area of the back due to the nature of a patient’s thin bones or osteoporosis.

“The treatment is once, but there is the risk of refracturing another place in the back,” said Verant.

Being aware and cautious when doing daily activities is the best way one can maintain the benefits of the kyphoplasty, she added.

Looking ahead, Dr. Reilly will also soon be offering rhizotomy, which is a procedure for longer lasting back pain and botox injections for migraine headache prevention.

For more information on these services, contact the Fairview Range Diagnostic Imaging department at (218) 362-6626.


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