Patient Resources

Fracture treatment

Fractures are one of the most common problems encountered by Dr Pan.

A fracture in a bone is commonly known as a crack or break in the bone. This would weaken the bone such that it can withstand the usual forces that goes thru it. When a bone is fractured, it can be displaced and lose its shape and abillity to bear weight. It will also be painful. A fracture is usually caused by trauma like a fall onto an outstretched hand. It can also occur from a twist. However, fractures can also occur in bone that are weakened by disease, for example, cancer or osteoporosis. If fractures occur without trauma, these are called pathological fractures. Pathological can occur say in the elderly from a sneeze or cough. Occasionally, fractures also occur with repetitive stress, a stress fracture from excessive running or marching. This will cause a stress fracture which may progress to a complete fracture if the stress injury is not allowed to heal.

Fracture treatment can be conservative or non-operative or operative. Fracture treatment that is non-operative usually involves some kind of splinting or immobilisation.  For immobilisation, a full cast is usually used.  Dr Pan prefers to use water-resistant materials.  This would provide a “water-proof cast”.  Fracture treatment with a “waterproof cast” is much more comfortable.  It allows the patient to shower or bathe with the cast, allowing the skin under the cast to be washed.  This reduces that itch under the cast.  Washing would also reduce the bad odour coming from the cast.  The patient can also swim with a waterproof cast.

However, fracture treatment may involve surgery.  Surgery or operation is usually indicated if the fracture is displaced or occurs thru a joint.  Surgery will aimed to respond the bone to its original shape.  This will involve open surgery to reduce the fracture and affix it with a metal implant.

In children, open surgery is not regularly performed. As children are still growing, perfect reduction is not necessary. Metal plate and screws are very rarely use in children.  In the practice of paediatric orthopaedics, pins and wires are usually use in conjunction with casts. Children have this ability to re-model or reshape the bones after the fracture heals.