Fractures are likely the most familiar orthopedic injury for many patients. Both stress fractures and fractures from accidents or impact are a relatively common medical problem. At some point in their life most people will experience a fracture of some kind. In most cases, while painful, fractures are not a cause for serious concern and are often completely healed over time with no lingering effects for patients.
To determine whether a partial or complete breakage of the bone occurred, fractures are diagnosed by x-ray in most cases. More complex or serious fractures may require other more advanced imaging techniques to determine the scale of the damage. Simple fractures can be treated by casting and rest. They will heal themselves over time.
More complex, serious, or multiple fractures may call for additional treatment up to and including surgery. If a bone has become severely displaced in the course of a fracture, the doctor will have to set the bone back to its original place before casting. This can be a painful process for the patient so a sedative is sometimes administered.
The most complicated fractures are ones that involve multiple complete breaks of the bone or shattered bone fragments. Both of these types are likely to lead to surgery. In the case of several clean breaks of the bone, pins and plates that hold the bones in place as they heal are often required. When small bone fragments of shattered bone are involved, a surgery is performed to remove them.
If you suspect a fracture, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately to assess the damage. The physicians at Commonwealth Orthopaedic Associates can help you to determine the best treatment option for you. Prompt treatment ensures that the bones will heal in the proper way and prevent later complications.