What is trauma and fracture?
Our body is made up of a network of bones known as the skeleton which gives our body its basic shape. Bones are made up of collagen which is a form of a protein as well as calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate. Calcium and collagen gives the bone strength and flexibility that is required for movement and performing our daily tasks.
The continuity of the bone structure is necessary to for movements and when this continuity in the bone structures breaks i.e. a bone cracks or breaks then it is known as a fracture. A bone fracture may occur due to severe external trauma such as in an accident which puts significant pressure on the bones. It may also occur due to weakening of bones due to diseases of the bones such as osteoporosis and arthritis.
A bone may be just cracked, broken or displaced entirely where the bone ends separate from each other such as in the case of a shoulder dislocation where the ball in the shoulder shifts from the socket. This is very severe and may require surgery as compared to an undisplaced bone which can be treated using a cast.
Types of Fractures
There are different types of fractures that can happen and may vary according to severity and type of treatment. The different types of fractures are:
- Traverse Fracture
This is a type where the fracture occurs across the bone from end to end but the bone is not completely broken and they are well aligned and stable. These fractures can be treated by a cast.
- Linear fracture
In this type, the fracture occurs linearly on the bone and in this case also the bone is still in its place and well aligned. These fractures can be treated by a cast.
- Oblique and non-displaced
In this type, the fractures occurs obliquely on the bone but the bone is still is in its place and is not displaced.
- Oblique and displaced
This is a severe case where the fracture happens obliquely and the bone is also displaced from its original place. Usually in these cases, surgery is required to restore the movement.
- Greenstick fracture
This type of fracture usually occurs in children where the bone bends on one side without breaking. This is because the bones of children and teens are more flexible than the bones of an adult.
- Comminuted fracture
This is a type of fracture in which the bone breaks into more than one fragment. This usually occurs after a high trauma and unusual pressure on the bones such as in a motor accident. This type of fractures requires immediate medical attention as chances of infection are very high.
Treatment of Fractures
There are essentially two types of treatments available for fractures. They are:
- Operative or open method
This method is used when the fracture is severe and the bone is displaced from its original location. The surgeon removes the nerves and arteries to better view the bone fragments and brings them closer so that they may heal. This is known as Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF) surgery. This surgery is beneficial than non-operative method because it leads to less visible deformity and makes the healing more certain. Risks involve infection, nerve injury and blood loss but these are not common.
- Non Operative or closed method
When the fracture is minor and the bones are not displaced an external splint or cast can be used to hold the bones in place and allowed to heal. There is no incision and hence there is no risk of infection, though it may restrict movement. If the bones are significantly displaced then a technique called closed reduction or General Anesthetic, Manipulation and Plaster (GAMP) may be used to align the bones but it is possible that the bones are not properly aligned. If the bones are too unstable to be treated with a cast, then external fixation can be used where pins are inserted from outside to the bones and they are attached to a long rod to form an external structure. This technique has several disadvantages such as pins loosening and the risk of infection is also very high.
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The recovery period of a fracture depends upon the severity of the fracture and may take few weeks to several months to heal completely. After the cast or braces are removed, patients are advised to not perform those activities that put pressure on the bone and let it become strong so that it can bear weight again. In addition to these, rehabilitation programs include exercise and gradual increase in the use of the injured party to perform activities.
- What are the causes due to which fracture occurs?
Fractures occur when there is severe trauma to the bone which may happen in case of a fall or severe accidents. Fractures may also occur if the bone is weak due to diseases such as osteoporosis.
- How long does it take for a fractured bone to heal completely?
A fracture may take few weeks to few months to heal completely depending on the severity of the fracture. It also depends on each patient’s medical condition like age, weight etc.
- Can I perform normal activities after a fracture?
Patients are usually able to retain normal movement and functionality after a fractured bone is healed completely. However, patients are advised to not put pressure on the bone soon after the cast or splint is removed.
Surgery in Mumbai, Thane
Our hospital in Mumbai, Thane has a world-class Trauma and Fracture department where all kinds of fracture treatments are provided by our team of orthopedists and surgeons. They have years of experience and are skilled at performing all kinds of fracture surgeries. The success rate of surgeries in our hospital is very good with many patients healing completely. We also have a highly trained medical staff whose prime responsibility is to provide excellent care to the patients so that they heal and recover fast.