Closed Fracture Treatment | Closed Bone Fracture Surgery | Symptoms, Recovery, Healing Time and Types
Closed fractures are one of the many classifications of bone fractures wherein the broken bone is not able to penetrate or pierce the skin. Determining whether a fracture is closed or not is a very important step because it will help identify if the patient needs immediate surgery or not. Compared to open fractures wherein the bone pierced through the skin, closed fractures are considered way milder and treatable. Most closed fracture cases do not need surgery except for cases wherein the bone had been severely fragmented.
Closed Fracture Types
• Hairline/stress fracture- caused by application of too much stress on the bones. Common in athletes.
• Displaced fractures- a type of closed fracture wherein the bones are displaced but all parts of the bone remained inside the body.
• Pathological fracture- caused by pathological factors such as vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
The doctor will ask the patient about the history of the fracture as the first step in diagnosing closed fractures. After this, a physical examination will be conducted. Range motion tests are commonly included on physical examinations in order to identify whether the injury affected neighboring nerves and arteries. In diagnosing closed fractures, the patients are given pain killers while the doctors conduct the tests. For individuals who have severely fragmented bones that may need surgery, their painkillers are given via intravenous (IV) line or through muscle injection. After the physical examination, the physician normally requests for x-rays to see the extent of the damage. Patients suspected of having hairline/stress fractures are requested to have MRI scans of their bones because this type of fracture cannot be seen normally by x-ray shots alone.
• Direct/Indirect traumas- vehicle accidents, falling or slipping accidents, direct blows from fighting or wrestling
• Bone overuse/stress- application of constant stress on the bones can cause it to buckle and have hairline cracks on its surface.
• Pathological causes- patients with nutrient and mineral deficiencies, specifically calcium deficiency, are more prone to having closed fractures because they have brittle bones.
• Extreme pain when the injured area is used or moved
• Swelling or deformed shaped of the affected body part
• Skin discoloration- caused by internal bleeding of the affected tissues and commonly occurs a few days after the accident happened.
• Feelings of numbness or tingling sensation
• Different manifestations of abnormal mobility like limping or having the need of extra support when doing normal activities
Closed Fracture Treatment
Treatments of closed fractures are highly dependent on the extent and type of injury. Since closed fractures happen internally, they do not pose risks of having infections thus making surgery as the last treatment option. This type of fracture is also treatable and professionals encourage application of first-aid since they do not need immediate emergency treatments. In applying first aid for people with closed fractures, the injured individual should be immobilized first by having him in a lying and unmoving position. The injured area should be raised in an angle in order to minimize the swelling. Ice packs should be applied to moderate the pain.
Most cases of closed fractures only need external fixation or the use of slings, casts, or crutches as their treatment. However, surgery can be immediately required in situations when there is internal bleeding on the tissues and when the bones have been shattered into small pieces. Internal fixation uses devices like rods, screws, and plates that are implanted inside the body and used to hold bones together that are fragmented. Physical therapy is also added to the treatment regardless if the patient had an internal fixation or external fixation. In physical therapy, range exercises are conducted to help condition the affected body parts back into its normal condition.
Most closed fracture cases come from direct traumas suffered from sports and vehicle accidents. Practice wearing the proper gears when doing these activities like wearing protective padding for athletes and an air-bag equipped vehicle for motorists. Those who had their injuries due to pathological causes should take calcium supplements and eat a healthy diet.
When to Call a Doctor
Immediately consult a doctor when swelling and tenderness is experienced after having an accident or fracture from training (for athletes). Do not refrain from visiting a physician just because the pain has subsided. This may even be critical especially if nerves have been damaged and numbing the injured part. If someone is injured and you suspect he has a fracture, call medical assistance immediately but do not move the person. Sometimes close fractures are critical because you never know that movement can even aggravate the situation.