My mother-in-law has very fragile bones and has shrunk about 8 inches from her hump back! Is surgery wise for fractures if her bones are brittle?

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My motherinlaw has very fragile bones, hump back, and has shrunk about 8 inches! Is surgery wise for fractures if her bones are too brittle. She began to have severe pain and sometimes it was unbearable after several months she had an MRI and a fracture was found and she had surgery (minor incision to back) 1 day in hospital.
Her pain was relieved for about a week and she stepped off a 3 inch step and her pain came back. She had another MRI and this time 3 fractures. More minor surgeries 3 incisions.... some pain relief and now 4 weeks later.... pain again and 2 more fractures.
Do these minor surgeries shoring up the spine and repairing the fractures on such brittle bones actually cause more pressure and more fractures? Does anyone else have experience in this area?
She is going in for surgery again in a few days. What is going on with her?

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My mother is going through this right now. She did not have a fall or even a hard bump, but she has hairline fractures. See the recent post and discussion: "What can I do to help care for my mom's hairline-fractured ribs?"

Her docs have her on pain meds and I have also consulted a naturopath who has given her an anti-inflamatory that has been working really well. Her doc uses less invasive measures. He said that the bones need to heal and it would take about 6 to 8 weeks. If it were my mom-in-lay, I would not put her through surgeries.
Also, step up the calcium/Vit.D/Magnesium intake. Mom uses a liquid calcium that is flavored and easy to swallow.
Lastly, I would caution against taking any of those bone building drugs...they have nasty side effects.
Good luck
I wonder if my mother-in-law is past the point of healing?
She has lost 8 or 9 inches.
I've never spoken to her doctor but I may get an opportunity in the near future. Her fractures are in her back / spine.

I just wondered if the surgeries are known to actually cause more fractures. Perhaps they make her feel better and more mobile and thus she walks and causes more fractures? or are the surgeries a good thing.?
Any surgery is risky. My aunt didn't make it through the surgery. It's a degenerative disease.
My aunt had the same issues and doctors used several alternatives for her as she aged and her bones became more and more brittle. At first they did surgery and put in some metal - titanium - I think. Then it was fusion of two vertebrae and then several treatments with GLUE -yes, glue, like super glue so the doc said.. If you're not comfortable with surgeries, talk with the docs about alternatives and also ask for a few sessions with occupational therapists to develop strategies to avoid falls, trips and such. Good luck to her and to you!
My mother in law has has this surgery with the same doctor 4 times now over the past 3 months. She gets 2 fractures -- cemented and then 2 or three more occur. It gives her relief for about a week and new and sometimes much worse pain occurs, another MRI, 3 more fractures 2 more mini- surgeries. She had the surgery for 3 fractures 2 weeks ago.
Yesterday she bent to pick up some paper and now her back is in tremendous pain again.

Is this normal? I know her bones are horrible fragile because she has shrunk 8-9 inches and is also very humped over so I don't know if strengthening some parts of her back is making the fractures occur more.

Has anyone been thru this? Are the surgeries for one week of pain relief worth it? Will all the surgeries finally add up to a new spine without fractures? My mother in law is only 77 but seems like she is about 87.

What questions do I ask the doctor if I get to talk to him? Her own daughters are sick of dealing with her (they are very selfish, neither one has a job and they both have lots of money - with vacations homes and "charities" so they are very busy, busy, busy)

so me, the daughter in law has to "do her share" Or my husband;s share. So now in addition to my dad I am trying to help my mother-in-law.

The woman in my family have pretty good bones so I have no experience with this!
I have the same problem with my mother. She got cement put in in May and is in pain again now. If it is fractured they add cement. If it is not fractured they just give her a shot in her spine. She can sneeze and crack her ribs depending on how she is sitting. She does appear to get relief from the cement, longer and quicker than the injections. It lasts until the next time that she does something different and then they have to add the cenent to a new portion of the spine. The problem i have is the delay time. First it takes awhile for them to find the problem, then because she is on coumadin they have to wait a few days (5-10) before they can do the surgery. (If it happens on the wrong day she might have to wait more because they only operate on medicare patients on certain days).
During all this time she is in too much pain to walk, she gets constipated from the pain killer and the longer she is off her feet the more afraid she gets of falling. It is getting more and mor hard to get her back walking. She is afraid so her knees buckle but she pulls away when you try to help her so she falls because she is off balance. It can be a pretty vicious circle but i dont know what else they can do for her.
Our mother has stabilized for a while on her pain. I went to her last appt after she had the surgery and asked about Ibuprofen (Advil) instead of a narcotic pain killer and the doctor agreed to try it. She is doing much, much better on it. She has less pain and less mental confusion.
Plus she has not had another fracture since.
I think maybe the anti-inflammatory advil has helped avoid fractures if that is possible anyway she hasn't had another cement surgery since starting on Advil/Motrin/Ibuprofen.
Dear SoAlone, My mother in law is in a demential unit now but 3 months ago she fell out of bed and fractured her back in several places. The doctors would not operate because we were told that when a person with brain issues is put under anesthesia, it can cause a speed up in the decline.
She has physical therapy now and now is using a walker. She was using a wheelchair. She doesn't remember anything from one second to the next so when she does have pain, she doesn't know what she did.
The therapists told us that it is just a matter of time before she falls again. She has an alarm on her bed and chairs and around her neck but I think she is part "Houdini". I hope this helps....
Dear SoAlone, Do you have a Geriatric Specialist involved with your mother in laws care. My mother in law is 85 and the Neurologist would not do the surgery. I also talked to her Primary Care doctor. Whenever I get that feeling in my gut, that I am not sure...I get a second opinion...Physical therapy really helped mom. She is losing muscle function and coordination. I went to physical therapy with her so I could help her also...
SoAlone I am glad that you mother is doing better. Unfortunately My moms doctor is reluctant to put her on ibuprofin because she is on Coumadin so they usually give her a tylenol acetaminophen. I really think the ibuprofin products work better for some pain. I wish that i could find a geriatric specialist in my area. I think my mom's doctor is overwelmed trying to juggle the 4 books of case information that he has on my mom. I think the phsical therapy would be good for my mom too-- to prevent falls. Her balance is really bad. Unfortunately you cannot really force people to do therapy and my mom has rejected 3 that came to the house and was kicked out of rehab because she would not do the therapy. We had one that seemed to be working well but my dad died and she could not do therapy for a week while we handled that so they did not come back. Right now she refuses to get out of bed. It used to be if you made sense to her she did things for her own good but now with the dementia - she gets a thought in her head and she sticks to it no matter what. I am looking into chair exercise that might help with at least range of motion and there are special ones for balance. I guess all that you can do is keep looking for different options and hopefully come up with one that works. What other choise to you have?

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