The Law Office of Kurt H King

December 22, 2011

Spinal Cement Surgery in Missouri Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Cases

Received a call last week from a guy with a Missouri Workers’ Compensation claim who went under the knife to have a vertebroplasty where cement is injected into a fracture to hold it together until the bone rebuilds.   The work comp insurance carrier already offered this person a settlement and the call was to find out if the offer was in the ball park, which it was not.  This person decided to try to renegotiate a higher settlement on his own after talking to me about number in hopes of having a decent net settlement without having to pay the 25% contingency fee to me and at least a $1,000 for another doctor to examine him and give the higher rating the injury deserved.  I don’t yet know how he fared on his negotiations.

After this phone call, I looked on-line at spinal surgery using cement and found that there are significant risks associated with this cement and allegations of improper and unapproved testing which may have resulted in patient deaths.  One risk is said to be that if the cement gets into the blood stream and reaches the heart, large drops in blood pressure occur.  Another concern is reported as that using cement to strengthen one fractured vertebrae could cause more fractures in weaker bones.  Maybe most strikingly, reports state that this cement surgery is no better than not having the surgery at all. 

All this raised the concern about what happens to the cement over time.  Is it absorbed into the body and how does that happen without it mixing with spinal fluid or the bloodstream which will eventually pass it though the heart?  And what damage results to the heart and its delicate valves due to the passage of rough foreign matter like cement?  Did the surgeon fully discuss all these risks and dangers with the patient as well as let the patient know of the studies that are said to indicate that the cement surgery may be no better than no surgery at all?   If not, the doctor may not have obtained the patient’s informed consent as required by law.

All in all, there seems to be considerable food for thought for anyone looking at cement surgery or such health problems afterwards.

Kurt H. King

Law Office of Kurt H. King, 20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068


Personal Inury, Missouri Workers’ Compensation, Family Law, Child Custody & Support, Divorce & Modification, Bankruptcy

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