A bone fracture occurs when a bone, anywhere in the human body, is cracked or broken. The break affects the continuity of the bone itself and also causes mild to severe pain at the break and throughout the body. Bone fractures are caused by a few different factors. They are a high-powered collision, osteoporosis or certain kinds of cancer.
There are two types of fractures; open or closed. An open fracture is broken skin with a piece of the bone exposed. A closed fracture is still a broken bone but without exposure through the skin. An open fracture is the most dangerous fracture because there is a likelihood for the exposed bone to become infected. Treatment for an open fracture comes in the form of antibiotics and surgery. During surgery the doctor will clean the infected area and remove any dirt, contamination and the dead tissue.
Fractures can also be simple or multi-fragmentary. A simple fracture is a break of a bone in only one place; splitting the bone into two sections. A multi-fragmentary fracture is a break that splits the bone into more than one piece.
There are complete fractures, where the bone fragments completely separate during the injury or an incomplete fracture, where the bone does not come completely detached. A spiral fracture is one in which one part of the bone has been twisted during the injury and a compacted fracture is when bone fragments are forced into each other during an injury.
The healing process of a bone fracture is very important to a patient. The healing process gets underway when the injured bone and surrounding tissues begin to bleed. A blood clot is formed between the broken fragments and new blood vessels begin to grow in the area of the clot. The new blood vessels bring in white blood cells which remove any non-viable material from the area. Collagen then replaces the blood clot, which allows bone to move slightly. Now, there are crystals that begin to form in between the bones, which turns the collagen into new bone.
Healing the bone in this way can sometimes take up to 18 months but adults are already 80 percent healed after only three months. Patients with bone fractures should avoid nicotine usage during the healing process while having an adequate intake of calcium will aid the healing process.
Treatment for bone fractures come in different forms. Doctors will stabilize the break by placing a finger or hand in a splint, placing the broken bone area into a fiberglass cast, snapping the bones back into place or using screws, nails, or plates to hold the bones together if the fracture requires surgery.
Bone fractures are not the most dangerous problems patients could deal with health-wise since they are so easy to treat and not difficult to heal. Bone fractures can be dangerous if they are an open fracture and not taken of properly. An infection could cause deterioration of the bone and require major surgery. Bone fractures can be easy to treat if taken care of properly.