Judith Eames, from Winchester, took a serious fall and tried to tolerate the debilitating pain over the weekend. But when it became too severe she went to LMH’s ED. There she was examined by Lawrence Whiting, MD, Associate ED Chairman, who diagnosed a compression fracture of her spine and recognized that Judith would be a good candidate for a balloon kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive treatment for spinal compression fractures.

An appointment was set up for the next day with Neil Denbow, MD, a specialist in interventional radiology.

“I had the surgery that Friday,” Eames recalls, “and went home the same day. Everyone at Hallmark Health was wonderful. Dr. Denbow told me I would be back to work soon and he was right.”

The procedure uses a small balloon to gently lift bone fragments in order to attempt to correct any loss of bone height. The surgeon also uses a flexible cement to stabilize this fracture thus alleviating the patient’s pain.

Dr. Denbow explains,“Balloon kyphoplasty is not just for the elderly. It can also provide relief to appropriately selected younger age patients and offer a very favorable long-term prognosis. The sooner you treat the patient before there is too much bone collapse, the better,” he adds. “Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive, uses less surgical time and is frequently performed under conscious sedation. In most cases, patients can walk out of the hospital the same day and return to normal activities shortly after surgery.”

Wayne Wivell, MD, Associate Chief of Radiology, reports that Hallmark Health has maintained a higher than 90% success rate of patients having immediate and significant pain relief following the procedures. Coralli So, MD also performs the balloon kyphoplasty procedure.

For more information on the balloon kyphoplasty procedures, please contact Interventional Radiology at Hallmark Health (781) 979-6905.


Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Cancer Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, Malden; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology.

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