Procedure involving balloons and cement may treat back problems, doctors discover

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- A doctor in Austin thinks many back problems can be cured with balloons and cement.

It's a new procedure to treat disc fractures called balloon kyphoplasty. Dr. Viet Tran says it takes less than an hour, and almost always, there's instant relief from the pain of a compression fracture.

Dr. Tran says he inserts tiny balloons on each side of the fracture and then inflates the balloons to bring the vertebra back to their normal shape. Then, he removes the balloons and fills the cavity with cement, which almost always fixes the fracture.

It allows patients time to quickly go back to their normal routines.

Until now, the usual treatments for broken vertebrae were pain pills and rest. Many of Dr. Tran's patients say it has changed their lives and he is urging more doctors and patients to give the procedure a try.
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