Recovery rates following surgery are variable, but typically, if a nonunion has failed to heal after six months, then it must be repaired to enable new bone tissue to bridge the fracture. Dr. Daniel C. Allison is a skilled Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon with years of experience treating non-union bone fractures. He knows that if improperly healed bones go untreated, complications such as a shortened limb or a gap between the fracture ends may occur. By calling (310) 730-8008 or filling out the online contact form, you can schedule an appointment that can provide you with the answers you need on the path to recovery.
Non-Union Fractures & Complications Effectively Resolved
A non-union fracture is defined by the FDA as “established when a minimum of six months has elapsed since fracture with no visible progressive signs of healing for three months.”
When checking a patient for a possible non-union bone fracture, Dr. Allison examines the fracture site for the following signs:
- Persistent pain
- Lack of mobility
- Limited functionality
- Slight warmth and swelling of the skin
Improper healing could be the result of patient-related, fracture-related or fixation-related factors. Identifying which one of these issues is the source of the non-union is critical to correcting the problem and preventing further complications or recurrence.
Non-unions are categorized as follows:
Hypertrophic – Mechanical failure. Bulging appearance indicates mobility at the fracture site. The solution is to rigidly fix and stabilize the fracture.
Atrophic – Organic failure. Poor healing occurred from a lack of blood supply. A more complicated non-union requiring a two-step correction. Accumulated scar tissue is removed from bone ends and the bone graft is applied to fracture site.
Key to ensuring the most appropriate treatment for a non-union is identifying the source of the problem. Therefore, you require a surgeon like Dr. Allison who is familiar with the complexities of musculoskeletal structures and can expertly identify, diagnose, and treat this type of condition.
Sophisticated Treatment of Non-Union Fractures
A physical examination of the injury is first performed, followed by imaging tests such as an MRI or X-ray. Diagnostic exams are helpful in identifying if scar tissue or cartilage has formed as a result of the non-union bone injury. This cartilage, or “pseudo-joint,” is common to atrophic non-unions and must be cleaned up before the fracture can be corrected.
When treating non-union fractures and depending on a patient’s case, some of the following treatment approaches could be considered:
- Plates or screws to secure fracture
- Synthetic, donor bone graft to adhere bone
- Bone marrow to aid in new bone formation