A fracture is a partial or complete break in the bone. When a fracture occurs, it is classified as either open or closed. In an open fracture, also called compound fracture, the bone exits and is visible through the skin, or a deep wound that exposes the bone through the skin. With a closed fracture, also called simple fracture, the bone is broken, but the skin is intact.
Our doctors make the diagnosis with physical examination and diagnostic tests which may include:
- X-rays - A diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film. This test is used to measure and evaluate the curve.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. This test is done to rule out any associated abnormalities of the spinal cord and nerves.
- Computed Tomography Scan (Also called a CT or CAT scan.) - A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
The goal of treatment is to control the pain, promote healing, prevent complications, and restore normal use of the fractured area. An open fracture (one in which the bone exits and is visible through the skin, or where a deep wound exposes the bone through the skin) is considered an emergency. Seek immediate medical attention for this type of fracture by calling 911.
Treatment may include:
- Splint/Cast -Immobilizes the injured area to promote bone alignment and healing to protect the injured area from motion or use.
- Medication (for pain control).
- Traction - The application of a force to stretch certain parts of the body in a specific direction. Traction consists or pulleys, strings, weights, and a metal frame attached over or on the bed. The purpose of traction is to stretch the muscles and tendons around the broken bone to allow the bone ends to align and heal.
- Surgery - Required to put certain types of broken bones back into place. Occasionally, internal fixation (metal rods or pins located inside the bone) or external fixation devices (metal rods or pins located outside of the body) are used to hold the bone fragments in place to allow alignment and healing.