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Leading-edge procedure cements better life for man in pain

Edwin's Story

Edwin Yate’s pain was not constant, but debilitating enough that he lived in fear of it. It could be gone one second and back again the next.

“I would finally get comfortable then make a wrong move and then I would be in a lot of pain again,” remembers Edwin.

The 82-year-old man from Qu’Appelle, Sask., suffered an acute fracture of his spine as a result of several falls. His doctors suggested a solution – vertebroplasty, an alternative to surgery done in Regina General Hospital’s interventional radiology (IR) suite.

This minimally-invasive procedure meant Edwin wouldn’t be put under anesthesia, nor would he have to stay overnight. During the vertebroplasty, the doctor used a special needle and medical imaging to guide the procedure. Medical-grade cement was then safely and quickly injected into the fractured backbone. For Edwin, this stabilized the fracture and alleviated his extreme pain.

“The procedure was fine; there was no great deal of pain with it. The freezing was probably as painful as anything,” says Edwin. “There’s always anticipation the procedure is going to hurt a lot more, but it didn’t. I would recommend it to anybody.”

Edwin went into the procedure with excruciating pain and left four hours after the procedure concluded, virtually pain-free. It was a breath of relief for him and his wife, Alma.

It’s very nice to do things and not have to constantly worry about whether is it going to hurt, or will it not hurt,” Edwin explains. “My quality of life is definitely better now that I’m not in so much pain. This procedure has eliminated the pain and made life a lot more comfortable for me.

Edwin is one of approximately 4,000 patients who found relief and an alternative to invasive surgeries in the IR suite. Key to these procedures is the medical imaging that supports the diagnosis and treatment of conditions and disease. In 2017 alone, there were 5,000 procedures performed in the IR suite, in addition to 50,000 computerized tomography (CT) scans, 17,000 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and 24,000 ultrasounds performed in Regina’s hospitals.

Almost every patient encounters medical imaging during their journey of care,” says Dr. Kunal Goyal, department head of medical imaging, Saskatchewan Health Authority. “Advances in technology allow us to perform cutting-edge procedures in a better, safer way that allows for shorter patient recovery and reduced wait times.

The IR suite was built in 2006 and now requires critical upgrades. That’s why medical imaging remains one of Hospital of Regina Foundation’s top priorities.

“By investing in medical imaging in Regina’s hospitals, we will see a domino effect in other areas of health care and that demonstrates just how crucial this technology is,” says Dino Sophocleous, president and CEO, Hospitals of Regina Foundation. “By having the best and most advanced technology, we will be reducing surgical wait times, the dependency on pain medication, and the length of stay in the hospital, getting people home to live better lives faster.”

To see a clip of Edwin’s procedure and to learn more about medical imaging in Regina’s hospital, watch the video titled ‘Medical Imaging.’  

Edwin's story also appears in our Winter 2019 newsletter. Click here to read more.
  •  Leading-edge procedure cements better life for man in pain
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