Some people misunderstand the word “fracture.” They assume a fractured bone isn’t a broken bone. Nope. The word fracture actually means “the act or process of breaking or the state of being broken.”

While we’ve spent many of the last blogs addressing ligament damage, this month let’s get into broken bones.

What is a fracture?

A fracture is a break or crack in a bone. This happens when the bone can’t withstand the amount of force being placed upon it. Fractures are usually the result of direct trauma from a direct blow or a fall.

There are different types of fractures and different severities. If you follow football, the Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith’s broken leg was as serious a fracture as you’ll ever see. It required emergency surgery and likely ended his career.

Bones may be completely or partially fractured.

What are the different types of fractures?

  • Displaced fractures— The bones snaps in two or more parts and moves so that the two ends are no longer aligned. If the bone has broken into many pieces, it is known as a comminuted fracture.
  • Non-displaced fracture— The bone cracks either part or all of the way through, but it does not move, so the proper alignment is maintained.
  • Open fractures— Here the bone fractures and the end breaks through the skin.
  • Closed fractures— The bone breaks but does not wound or puncture the skin.

Dealing with fractures

If a patient has a displaced fracture, we will need to realign the broken bones prior to splinting or casting. We usually perform these surgeries as outpatient procedures at Texas Surgical Center with the patient under general anesthesia. We may handle minor displacements in our offices with the patient under only local anesthesia.

If the bone has multiple breaks or other more serious issues, we may insert internal fixation devices. These include plates, rods, or screws. These measures are necessary to ensure the bone stays in the proper position while it heals. They will often be removed after the bone is fully healed.

The team at Urgent Orthopedic Specialists can handle any bone fractures. If you need us, please call (432) 520-3020.

Posted in: Fracture Treatment

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