Do All Fractures Require Surgery?

By Dr. L. Tomar in Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement

Nov 08 , 2020 | 2 min read

Surgery is sometimes required to treat a fracture. The type of treatment for fracture required depends on the severity of the break, whether it is "open" or "closed," and the specific bone involved. For example, a broken bone in the spine (vertebra) is treated differently from a broken leg bone or a broken hip.

Here are a few surgeries that treat certain fractures:

A fracture is a break that typically occurs in a bone. Fractures usually take place because of falls, car & bike accidents or even sports injuries. Fractures can also occur in bone diseases like osteoporosis due to low bone density. A bone may be completely fractured or partially fractured in any number of ways (crosswise, lengthwise, in multiple pieces). Checkout what should be the post fracture/trauma diet?

External Fixation

In this operation, metal pins or screws are placed into the broken bone above and below the fracture site. The pins or screws are connected to a metal bar outside the skin. This device is a stabilizing frame that holds the bones in the proper position while they heal. In cases where the skin and other soft tissues around the fracture are badly damaged, an external fixator may be applied until surgery can be tolerated.

Open Reduction and Internal Fixation

In this operation, the bone fragments are first repositioned (reduced) in their normal alignment and then held together with special screws or by attaching metal plates to the outer surface of the bone. The fragments may also be held together by inserting rods down through the marrow space in the centre of the bone.

Which pains are considered abnormal after a fracture?

After an injury, if pain or swelling limits the motion or use of the body part, or if the body part becomes numb, it seeks medical care. If the injury to the body part includes a laceration, crushed tissue, or exposure of bone, the individual should go to an emergency department for an immediate medical care. Some fractures may be subtle and the pain may be tolerable, so if a person suspects that they may have a fracture, they should seek medical attention.

When there is a fracture: You can notice!

  • Severe pain and swelling
  • Bruised and discoloured skin around the site of injury
  • Dislocation or unnatural bending at the joint or fracture site
  • Inability to move or do any routine acts with the affected limb
  • Bleeding from the fracture site in case of open fractures

Which fractures require a cast?

  • For forearm and wrist breaks: short arm casts are used, which are placed from the knuckles of the hand to just below the elbow are used
  • For upper arm or elbow fractures: long arm casts are used, which go from the upper arm to the knuckles of the hand
  • For ankle and lower leg breaks: short leg casts are used, which run from just below the knee to the bottom of the foot
  • For knee, lower leg, or ankle breaks: long leg casts are used, which are applied from the upper thigh down over the foot

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To prevent fractures, the following lifestyle changes should be adopted:

  • Follow an exercise regime for at least 30-mins a day
  • Quit smoking
  • Get adequate exposure to sunlight
  • Don’t drink alcohol or have it in moderation
  • Have a diet rich in calcium-rich foods and take calcium supplements after consulting

Dr. L. Tomar says, When it comes to providing first-aid, the best way is to prevent movement of the affected site and seeking medical attention immediately. Taking conscious care in one’s day-to-day activities can prevent chances of a fracture.