When Does a Fracture Require Surgery?

A bone fracture is a broken bone. Bone fractures are one of the most common injuries orthopaedic doctors see. About 6.8 million people fracture a bone every year, with the most common being hip, ankle, and leg bone fractures.

Bones are strong, so it takes a big impact to break or fracture one. Bone fractures are most commonly caused by a car accident, a fall, or a sports-related injury. Osteoporosis, a condition where bones become brittle and weak, is related to numerous fractures as well.

While many bone fractures can heal with a cast, others require surgery to treat. The experienced orthopaedic surgeons at Texas Orthopaedic Associates share important information on different types of fractures and when a fracture might require surgery to heal properly.

Types of fractures

Some bone fractures are minor with just a hairline fissure on the bone, while others result in a bone being broken into two or more pieces. The type of fracture will dictate your treatment options.

A hairline or stress fracture is a minor fracture, although one that may be difficult to detect in an X-ray, where there’s a small chink or simple line in the bone. A complete fracture is when the break goes through the bone, breaking it into two pieces. With an open fracture, the bone has broken through the skin, and a comminuted fracture means the bone has shattered.

Bone fracture symptoms

If the bone is sticking through your skin, it’s simple to figure out that you’ve broken it. In other cases, it’s not so evident that your injury caused a fracture.

Bone fracture symptoms include:

  • Severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty using or bearing weight on the limb

In some cases, the limb looks deformed or is sitting at a strange angle.

Fractures that require surgery

The goal of fracture treatment is to allow the bone to heal and fuse back together. Often, this can be accomplished by immobilizing the bone for several months with the help of a cast and splint. The more severe the fracture is, the more likely it is that surgery will be recommended.

For example, an open or comminuted fracture will require surgery to ensure that the bone fully grows back together and safely supports your weight. Surgical repair entails using metal rods, screws, or plates to set the bone in place or align it while it heals.

Have you fractured a bone? Call Texas Orthopaedic Associates, with many convenient offices around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, to make an appointment with one of our skilled orthopaedic surgeons. You can also request an appointment online through this website.