Sternum Fracture Treatment | Sternum Bone Fracture Surgery, Healing Time, Recovery, Causes and Symptoms
There are many types of bone fracture that are already identified because the human body has more than 200 bones. Most of the bones can break or crack due to strong impact or due to weakness. Most likely, the classification of these fractures is based on where the break has happened. These fractures are just named on differently; some are named after the broken bone while others are named after the scientists who discovered them. One of the types of fracture injury is the closed sternum fracture. This is a break on the breast bone that affects the skin near the injured area. In most cases, the middle thirds and upper part of the sternum are affected.
A fractured sternum is usually caused by a strong blow to the chest that results to trauma. Sometimes, a sternal fracture may happen after a resuscitation wherein the ribcage is compressed to get the water out from the chest. Sternum fractures are usually made up of a single crack, but there are also cases when the breastbone is displaced and pushed to the chest cavity. The latter case happens after an extremely strong blow to the chest resulting to fractured sternum bone. If the bones in the chest are made to endure stressful work or when the bones are weak, this fracture of breast bone will likely happen. However, this sternum injury is not really a common type of fracture.
A fracture that shows bruised ribs symptoms is usually caused by motor vehicle accidents. These are also the same types of injuries that result to zygomatic fractures, as well as to zygomaticomaxillary fractures. These are types of ZMC fractures that are usually caused by impacts brought about by vehicular or road traffic accidents. The facial skeleton can be easily broken, which happens in the case of maxillary fractures. Due to the increase in the number of vehicular accidents, the use of seatbelts is recommended but this also leads to more people experiencing bruised or cracked rib symptoms. However, despite the sternum fractures, the good side in this is the decreased number of injuries caused by vehicular accidents on the people involved.
Other causes of bruised sternum are assaults, falls, and contact sports.
More women experience bruised ribs symptoms than men. This could be due to how the seat belts are used.
People at Risk
Construction workers, window building cleaners, warehouse workers, and other people who work in high places and athletes who play contact sports are exposed to high risks of having a broken sternum. On the other hand, stress fracture injury on the sternum might also happen to weight lifters, golfers, and other players who use their upper body constantly for long hours. Osteoporosis and osteopenia are bone diseases that increase the risk of having symptoms of bruised ribs. Most patients with a fractured sternum have a mean age of 50.3 years. However, these types of breast bone fracture may also happen to adolescents and other older people. Thus, parents should watch out for the possibility of sternum fracture in children after they have gone through a vehicular accident or any other impact blowing activities.
The doctor will first ask the patient about one’s history of injury. This will also held detect other associated injuries aside from the fractured sternum symptoms felt by the patient. The ribcage and the chest of the patient will be examined for bruising, asymmetry, and swelling. These are fracture symptoms of an injury to the sternum. Another sign of this sternum bone fracture is difficulty in breathing, and this happens to 15 to 20 percent of the patients. The doctor will also listen to the motions and sounds in your heart and lungs using a stethoscope. Heart murmurs will signify cardiac injuries.
A physical examination would follow. Like many other patients with fractures, those that have sternum fracture symptoms will also feel pain. The broken sternum bones will also feel tender when touched. If the sternum continues to palpate, there might be displacement of the breast bone. This is also the same case with grating sensation on the injured area. Even without fracture diagnosis, an insufficiency fracture in the sternum will still be seen through the exaggerated hunchback of the patients.
Some diagnostic tests have to be performed to verify whether the cracked rib symptoms that a patient is feeling are really symptoms of a sternum injury. A chest x-ray has to be done to see the lateral, posteroanterior, and sternal views. Other tests would include ultrasound and CT scan. If bruised sternum symptoms are caused by a blunt force to the chest bone, tests like cardiac monitoring, electrocardiogram, pulse oximetry, and blood tests for cardiac enzymes are also necessary. The patient’s sternum anatomy has to be tested well by the doctor to be accurate with the diagnosis and find an effective sternum fracture treatment. Patients with sternum injuries should consult the doctor immediately because this can affect breathing.
Nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs are used for fractured sternum treatment, such as analgesics. Moreover, the patient with cracked sternum symptoms should only have limited movements so as not to worsen the effect of the fracture on the chest. Medicines that can relieve pain are significant help for patients with breastbone fracture. Emedicine can be purchased online for more convenience on the part of the patient. This is a conservative way to treat sternum fracture. The pain in the fractured area can be managed by taking nerve blocks as well. At least, the patient will no longer feel a lot of discomfort due to the pain in sternum. Stress fracture on the same spot can use the same treatment approach as the minor sternal fracture.
One way on how to heal a displaced sternum would be to make a small incision on the chest to pull the sternum out to its proper place with the use of a hook. Fracture surgery might be necessary for more severe cases of fracture of breast bone. Surgical fixation is one solution to how to treat sternum fracture quick, especially an unstable one.
Sternum fracture treatment, unlike in other types of stubborn fractures, can happen naturally. This comes with the knowledge that an injured sternum can heal on its own. Following all of the recommendations of the doctors can help speed up the recovery process and shorten the recovery time. On the average, it would take six to 12 weeks of sternum fracture healing time. After this time elapsed, the fracture will heal completely and the patient can get back to normal activities.
Rehab does not begin until a complete check up of the thoracic spine is made. This is adjacent to the chest, which is why there is a probability that this might just be affected. The spinal cord should be assessed as well. If no other injuries are detected, the patient can start with physical therapy. There are specific steps that are used to rehabilitate individuals with compromised respiratory system. Other factors that are considered in choosing the right physical therapy to administer would be functional limitations and age of the patient.
Rehabilitation is done in order to help reduce the pain, let the chest function well again, and prevent fracture complications from affecting the breathing of the patient. Hot or cold packs can be applied directly on the affected area to lessen the effect of a painful sternum. This can be done with some medicinal help. Deep breathing exercises should be performed as well to help avoid muscle spasm, improve full lung expansion, and increase lung secretions. This can also help in a quick sternum fracture recovery time.
Restrictions and Accommodations
After rehab, the patient can return to work but there should already be certain restrictions. Activities that involve pulling, pushing, overhead lifting, and lifting heavy objects (more than five pounds) should be restricted to avoid feeling breast bone pain. After complete fracture healing, the patient should not speed up right away into doing normal tasks. Instead, the sternum should be slowly introduced to some activities so as not to surprise the healing sternum bone.