Helping the Elderly Stand Tall

As the population of the world continues to live longer, medical problems associated with aging create a particular challenge for medical institutions. A common problem is spinal fractures and other bone fractures. In the United States alone, there are approximately 50,000 cases of spinal fractures associated with trauma and 700,000 spinal fractures related to osteoporosis. These injuries cause pain, neurological deficit, and substantial morbidity due to impairment of physical activity and depression.

Elderly people who suffer from spine fractures, primarily related to osteoporosis, are rarely treated surgically, due to their lesser ability to endure surgical stress. Therefore, most worldwide spinal fractures (1,400,000) related to osteoporosis are treated conservatively and insufficiently. Rabin Medical Center has taken a giant step forward in producing an effective, minimally invasive surgical procedure.

Dr. Nissim Ohana, head of the Orthopedic Spine Unit at Rabin Medical Center, together with a team of experts, have developed a minimally invasive modular vertebral reconstruction implant that provides a physiologic, simple and low cost solution for treatment of vertebral fractures in trauma cases, as well as in osteoporosis related compression fractures.

Five such trial operations have already been successfully performed at Rabin Medical Center. One patient, a 70-year-old woman with a broken lumbar vertebra, had been unable to move from bed for over a month. Just one day after the implant surgery she was able to get out of bed and walk. She was amazed at the results. The other two operations were equally successful.

Dr. Ohana and his team hope that once these trials are approved by the Israeli Ministry of Health, they will be used more widely in Israel as well as internationally. It seems that another breakthrough is on its way at Rabin Medical Center.

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