Treatment of Fractures of Extremity Bones


What is it?

Bones that are anatomically located distally from the torso are referred to as extremity bones. These may include bones of the fingers, hands, arms, feet, and legs. In the event that a child falls, one reflex is to extend the arm or leg for protection. This reflex contributes to the fracture of extremity bones. Such breaks and fractures are also associated with intense pain or swelling. Treatment for fractured bones varies due to the type and severity of the break. Some children require minimal treatment while others undergo surgical repair. This procedure surgically corrects broken bones and uses tools to hold them in place. Many times, the bones are set in a cast or splint to prevent the bones from shifting and allowing them to heal correctly.

How to Prepare

Since fracturing a bone is usually a quick, accidental experience, there is little preparation that can be made for treatment. If a fracture is suspected, the patient should immediately go to a hospital. Children are required to wear protective equipment while participating in athletic activities. If the patient needs surgery to repair the fracture, the surgeon and his medical team will give specific instructions and explain the surgery in detail to the parents of the patient.

What happens during the procedure?

When the patient arrives at the hospital, a physical exam is performed to identify deformities and sites of pain. Imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans may be performed to better visualize the bone. The fractured bone may be corrected surgically or nonsurgical. If the bone does not require surgery, a cast or splint is applied so that the bone is set appropriately for the duration of recovery. For fracture and repair surgery, the patient is sedated so that the surgeons can operate. An incision is made as surgeons manually push the bones back into proper alignment. If extra support is needed, wires, screws, and plates may be affixed to the bones. After surgery, the incisions are closed and a cast is placed over the extremity.

Risks and Complications

* Allergic reaction to medication

* Bleeding and infection (surgery)

* Blood clots


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