What Kind of Care Is Needed for Fractures?

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.

Internal 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.

External Fixation
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.

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