Since fractures can range from minor (greenstick and stress fractures)
to major (open compound fractures), treatment plans must be developed
on a case-by-case basis. Trauma patients who require emergency care for
fractures can typically expect to have surgery, likely on an emergent
basis. When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear the Medical
Director of Trauma at
Regional Medical Center of San Jose explain how orthopedic traumatologists at our Trauma Center can provide
emergent stabilization and fixation.
Many fracture patients who arrive in emergency care can be treated without
surgery, often by using the traction method to gently align the bone ends.
But when surgery is needed, open reduction and internal fixation are commonly
used. The orthopedic traumatologist must first reposition the fragments
of bone, which is known as reduction. Then, the fragments are fixed in
place with the aid of surgical plates, screws, nails, or other implant
materials. Internal fixation is an effective technique that typically
allows patients to enjoy better healing.
If a trauma patient is not yet healthy enough to undergo surgery, an orthopedic
traumatologist may use external fixators to temporarily stabilize the
broken bones while the patient has other medical interventions for more
serious injuries. In some cases, external fixators may be the primary
treatment to stabilize the fragments until the bone is fully healed. After
making small incisions, the physician inserts metal screws or pins into
the bone. A bar, placed outside the skin, attaches to these implants.
Casts and functional casts or braces are applied to the affected body
part after surgery or, in less severe cases, as the
primary stabilization method for fractures. The cast can be removed when the bone is fully healed and it is safe
to use the body part again.
Rehabilitation is an important component of fracture care. Some patients
may work with an occupational therapist to learn how to do daily tasks
while wearing a cast or brace. Physical therapy aims to strengthen weakened
muscles, improve flexibility, and reduce pain.
Regional Medical Center of San Jose is the facility of choice for trauma
patients in Santa Clara County. In addition to providing emergency care
for trauma patients, we deliver a full suite of inpatient and outpatient
rehabilitation services, including specialized
orthopedic rehab. If you require emergency care in San Jose, call 911 now. Otherwise, call
a registered nurse at our hospital at (888) 762-8881.