A fracture can be minor, moderate or fatal following a car accident. Know your injury and the value of your case.
A fracture is the medical term for a broken or cracked bone. Fractures are common injuries in car accidents and can be minor, moderate or fatal if the bone punctures a major artery. Bones break when some sort of trauma puts pressure on the bone, stronger than the bone itself. Even minor broken bones can become complicated if there has been damage to nearby blood vessels, nerves, muscles or joints. Sometimes major bone fractures can occur as a result of minor trauma due to an existing condition such as osteoporosis. The location of the damage, the amount of damage, and damage to nerves or blood vessels surrounding the bone, determine the severity of a fracture.
The adult human body consists of 206 bones. As a result, there are many different types of fractures that can occur from a car accident. The first category a doctor will place a fracture into is either an open or closed fracture. An open fracture refers to a fracture that pierces through the skin leaving it cut, torn or scraped. Open fractures are also known as compound fractures and often require immediate surgery. Victims suffering from an open fracture are at risk of developing an infection if the wound is not properly cleaned. A closed fracture or a simple fracture is one that does not break through the skin.
The most common types of fractures that occur as the result of a traumatic incident include the following:
- Greenstick Fracture: A greenstick fracture occurs when the bone is broken on one side.
- Transverse Fracture:A transverse fracture occurs when a break line extends across the bone.
- Impacted Fracture:An impacted fracture is when one fragment of bone penetrates another bone.
- Spiral Fracture:A spiral fracture is as it sounds, the break spirals around the bone.
- Oblique Fracture: An oblique fracture is one that is curved or slanted.
- Comminuted Fracture:A comminuted fracture is where the trauma has crushed the bone, leaving it in fragments or pieces.
Some bone fractures are categorized by the location of the broken bone, such as:
- Skull Fracture:These types of fractures require significant force and can be very serious if there is damage to the brain or bleeding in the brain. Skull fractures are common injuries in auto accidents.
- Rib Fracture:A rib fracture happens as the result of a blow to the ribcage. This is a very common injury and is often confused with a bruised rib. Victims suffering from broken ribs often have difficulty breathing. Rib fractures can lead to pneumonia if the proper steps are not taken.
Signs You Might Have A Fracture
Sometimes victims who have suffered a broken bone might not be able to tell at first and may choose not to seek medical attention. If you have suffered from a broken bone you might experience swelling, bruising or discolored skin. You might also notice that you are unable to put weight on the injured area or cannot move it. If the bone you have broken has affected a joint, you might feel a grating sensation when you move your joint.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Fractures
The most common test to diagnose a bone fracture is an X-ray. If you have been involved in an auto accident and feel an intense pain, your doctor will likely perform an X-ray on that part of your body. An X-ray will show your doctor if your bone has been fractured and the type of fracture that has occurred. The X-ray will help your doctors determine the type of treatment you will need. Your doctor may also conduct MRI’s or CT scans to determine the injury.
The treatment of a fracture depends on both the location of the fracture and the type of fracture. It is not uncommon that you might need surgery to re-place the bone. In order to heal correctly and return to your normal state, the bone must be set in place. This process is called “reduction.” Non-surgical resetting is called “closed reduction.” Open reduction often includes the use of pins, plates, screws, rods or glue to hold the bones in their proper place. After setting, whether surgical or non-surgical, the fracture needs to be immobilized. Immobilization can be done using a cast, splint or traction.
Recovery from a fracture might include rehabilitation after the bone has healed. Sometimes, doctors will have you begin rehabilitation before a bone is completely healed and before a cast or splint is removed in order to prevent blood clots, stiffness, loss of muscle tissue, etc. Recovery time can also depend on the age of the victim and the state of the victim’s bones before the accident occurred. Children tend to recover quickly from broken bones because their bones are still growing and forming. Those who have a pre-existing condition such as osteoporosis will require a much longer recovery time. Recovery can take anywhere from weeks to years, depending on the severity of the break.