Which Fractures Can Be Addressed with Fixation?

Which Fractures Can Be Addressed with Fixation?

Fractures — or breaks — can happen for a variety of reasons. They can also vary in severity, from hairline cracks to completely shattered tissue. But there’s one thing fractures have in common: Proper alignment must be restored if they’re going to heal correctly.

Thomas F. Saylor, MD, at Orthopaedic Care Specialists in North Palm Beach, Florida, has treated countless fractures during his career spanning more than 20 years. 

Some fractures only require rest and modified activity to heal, a common treatment for stress fractures from overtraining. However, others require splinting, bracing, casting, and even surgical implants to ensure proper support and stabilization — a process known as fixation.

 

If you’ve had a fracture, here are a few reasons Dr. Saylor could use fixation to treat your break.

How fixation works

There are different terms used to refer to fracture fixation. Some call the procedure “resetting” a bone, while an orthopedic surgeon might perform “reduction.” No matter what you call it, fracture fixation always involves the same basic elements. 

First, Dr. Saylor moves the pieces of your broken bone back into position. Then, he stabilizes them while they heal. For some breaks, this aspect of fixation means adding a splint, cast, or brace. However, more severe fractures require special implants to hold your broken bones in position while they heal.

Types of implants used in fracture fixation include: 

Dr. Saylor can use either internal or external fixation to place these devices. With internal fixation, the implants are all inside your body — think of it as an internal cast holding your bones in position. 

If you need external fixation, screws are placed in your fracture and attached to a device outside your body. This approach allows Dr. Saylor to make adjustments to keep mending bones in an optimal position throughout the healing process or until he can perform internal fixation.

Fractures that benefit from fixation

As mentioned above, broken bones vary from person to person. As a result, they require personalized attention to ensure the best outcomes.

Dr. Saylor considers several factors when determining the ideal treatment for your fracture, such as fracture pattern, cause, location, and displacement.

Fracture pattern

This criteria describes the shape of your break or what it looks like. For instance, is your fracture a single break, does it go straight across a bone, or has it shattered into pieces?

Cause

The cause of your fracture can also offer insight into treatment. For example, a traumatic injury can lead to complex fractures that require additional stability to heal. However, hairline fractures from repetitive stress, like running, often benefit from rest and modified activity. 

Location

Any broken bone can cause issues. However, certain areas of your body come with a greater risk of complications like nonunion — or failure to heal. These fractures often affect the lower body, like your feet and ankles, or major joints, like your shoulder, elbow, and wrist

Displacement

Finally, Dr. Saylor also looks at whether you have a displaced or non-displaced fracture, which describes how much the pieces of bone moved. 

If you have a displaced fracture, it means there’s a space or gap at the break location, affecting its alignment. A break still exists with a non-displaced fracture, but the bone pieces typically remain in alignment.

Ensuring the best outcomes for fractures

At the end of the day, many broken bones can benefit from fixation — it just depends on the break. 

Fortunately, Dr. Saylor has the expertise you need to find the best course of treatment for your fracture, whether that includes fixation or not.

If you have a broken bone, don’t wait to work with a skilled expert. Contact Orthopaedic Care Specialists by calling 561-260-5993 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Saylor today.

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