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Success Stories

I was happy with the surgery.

55-year-old Ralph was on a ladder cleaning out roof gutters. The ladder slid out from underneath him and he fell, landing on his back on the steps of the nearby deck.


“It was very painful,” Ralph recalls. “I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t even sit. When I saw Dr. Berkowitz before my surgery, he told me, ‘When you come out of surgery, what is hurting you now will not hurt anymore,’” Ralph recalls. “He was right—thank God!”

“In the emergency room, they took x-rays and told me, ‘You broke your back,’” says Ralph. ‘They admitted me to the hospital and took me for an MRI the next morning. The next day, I was scheduled for surgery with Dr. Robert Berkowitz.”

“Ralph had compression fractures—breaks in the bones of the spine that cause them to collapse,” explains Dr. Berkowitz, a spine specialist with advanced training in back and neck surgery.

Dr. Berkowitz treated Ralph’s compression fractures with kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive surgical procedure that restores crushed vertebrae and relieves pain.

“Kyphoplasty is done through two tiny incisions,” says Dr. Berkowitz. “I insert a special needle into the crushed vertebra. This needle has a tiny balloon, which I inflate to ‘puff’ the bone back up again. Then I deflate the balloon, pull it out of the bone and fill the hole I just made with cement.”

Ralph had kyphoplasty on Wednesday afternoon, went home that night and was back at work on Friday. “There was no pain,” he says. “I still had a few bumps and bruises from the fall, but as far as the surgery goes, that pain was totally gone.”

Ralph is back to leading an active life. “I saw Dr. Berkowitz again about a week and a half after my surgery,” he recalls. “Dr. Berkowitz took an x-ray, showed me everything was looking good, and said I could go back to my normal activities. I said, ‘I don’t think I’m going to do that because it seems that lately, my normal duties include falling off ladders,’” Ralph laughs. “I asked Dr. Berkowitz if the extra weight in my vertebrae would take the slice out of my golf swing,” Ralph adds. ‘I’m hoping! We’ll see in the spring.”

For an appointment, call 440.329.2800.