A fracture happens when a bone breaks partially or entirely due to the result of physical trauma, high stress or any medical conditions such as osteoporosis and bone cancer. Historically, fractures were classified after the physicians who first described the fractures. However, advancements in biology and modern medicine have led to a more systematic classification of bone fractures.
Common Types of Bone Fractures
A bone fracture may be classified based on the location, the type of fracture pattern, alignment of the fractured bones, angle.
A stable fracture is a type of fracture where the ends of the bone line up and are never out of place. It does not require any realignment and may be treated with a splint or a cast.
Open Compound Fracture
Open, compound fractures occur when the bone breaks and pierces the skin. This injury results in an open wound, with the bone usually visible. This type of fracture requires immediate medical attention and surgical intervention. These precautions are necessary because microbes and other contaminants can enter the skin and bone, causing an infection. In most cases, the bone has to be surgically re-aligned using wires and the skin has to be stitched back or grafted.
A transverse fracture occurs when the bone is broken at a right angle along the plane of the bone. It usually occurs as a result of a stress fracture, where a strong force is applied perpendicular to the long axis of the bone. The bones may require realignment before being set. Failure to correctly re-align the bones may result in other types of fractures where the bone may not reattach (non-union fracture) or reattach at an incorrect position (malunion fracture).
Oblique fractures typically occur when the bone breaks at an angle, usually more than 30 degrees. This type of fracture commonly occurs as the result of an extreme twisting force.
A comminuted fracture is a type of fracture where the bone shatters into three or more pieces. This type of fracture requires tremendous amounts of energy; hence, it is commonly seen in vehicular accidents.
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