The most severe type of fracture is the comminuted fracture which is defined by the presence of at three or more pieces of bone fragments. It’s a painful type of fracture that creates complications for treatment. The complications arise from the presence of multiple bone fragments. A comminuted fracture can also be either a closed or open fracture. In a closed fracture the bone does not pierce the skin. In an open fracture fragments of bone will pierce the skin and expose themselves to the air allowing bacteria or dirt to enter the wound. This creates and increased chance of infection of the fracture. Comminuted fractures are typically open fractures.
Symptoms And Causes
According to causes and symptoms, these fractures are commonly caused by a strong crushing force being applied to the bone. Car accidents and very high falls are the leading causes. The elderly commonly suffer this type of fracture because their bones have become weaker with age. It’s also common among those who are suffering from various diseases such as bone cancer, diabetes, or osteoporosis.
If you have suffered this type of fracture you would be experiencing severe pain at the location of the injury. The location would become significantly swollen and would be warmer than usual. If it were an open fracture the bone would pierce the skin and be exposed to the air.
Treatment And Diagnosis
Your doctor would first perform a physical exam on the location of the injury. If the fracture is open it would be a quick diagnosis which may still require an x-ray, but if it is closed, then an x-ray would be required to properly diagnose the fracture.
A CT scan of the fracture may also be required as well as additional tests. After the exam and required tests you would be given medication to help alleviate the pain.
After the diagnosis you would begin treatment which may include surgery to help repair the fracture. The bone fragments must all be realigned so they may properly heal. This may sometimes require the use of pins, screws, plates, or wire to properly set the bone. Only once the area has been opened during surgery will the doctor know if any surrounding tissue has been damaged by the fracture. If so, the doctor would diagnose and repair the damaged tissue. After surgery the injured area would be immobilized with a cast or a splint. This type of fracture will take quite a bit of time to properly heal compared to other types of fractures. You would also take part in physical therapy to help strengthen the muscle surrounding the bone and restore proper function of the bone. If any complications arise such as infection, your doctor would administer antibiotics and this would prolong your recovery time.