Bone Repair and Fractures
Most people have experienced bone fractures. Slips, falls, etc. are often the causes of bone fractures. Some people may be at higher risks for fractures than others. Recent research shows that people are at more risk for fractures if:
1. Have low bone density and frail bones.
2. Increased blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine
3. Excessive levels or intake of the fat soluble vitamin A
Fractures are classified based on the following criteria:
1. Position of the bone ends after fracture
Displaced fractures means that the end of the bone are out of normal alignment
2. The completeness of the break
3. Position of the break compared to the axis of the bone
Linear (parallel to the axis of the bone) or transverse (perpendicular to the axis of the bone)
4. If the bone penetrates or breaks the skin.
Simple or compound (bone pushes through the skin)
5. Location of the fracture.
Common Fractures (table 6.2)
Bone is crushed
People who have soft bones or osteoporotic bones are susceptible
Opposing forces twist the bone and break it.
II. Repair – Simple Fracture
The repair process of a simple fracture takes place following the steps:
Blood vessels burst or hemorrhage.
Blood clots in the local area called a “fracture hematoma”
Bone cells die – swelling and inflammation occurs
2. Fibrocartilage Callus Formation
3. Bone Callus
If there is a compound or major fracture that cannot heal on its own or must be set by other than traditional means:
Screws, plates, pins, etc. may be used for extensive breaks
Often times bone grafting may be used:
A bone graft is surgery to place new bone into spaces around a broken bone or bone defects.
The new bone can be taken from the patient's own healthy bone (this is called an autograft) or from frozen, donated bone (allograft).
A surgeon makes a cut over the bone defect. The bone graft is shaped and inserted into and around the area. The new bone is held in place with pins, plates, or screws. Stitches are used to close the wound. A splint or cast is usually used to prevent injury or movement while healing.