A broken bone occurs when excessive force is placed on a bone, causing it to fracture or snap. The severity of a break can range from a simple hairline fracture to a more complex break involving numerous fractures, multiple bones or punctured skin.
When broken bones are not set properly, they will not mend correctly. This can lead to chronic, severe pain and possible disfigurement. The orthopedic specialists at the University of Vermont Medical Center work together using advanced diagnostic and surgical technology to ensure that the bones heal precisely.
Care for Broken Bones at UVM Medical Center
Our goal is to mend broken bones so you can return to action as quickly and safely as possible.
- Fellowship-trained surgical team - Our orthopedic surgeons receive referrals from doctors throughout New England and upper New York. We have broad knowledge and expertise in fracture care and complex orthopedic cases. In addition, we are skilled in treating congenital bone deformities, limb deformities caused by improper casting or treatment, and limb lengthening.
- Special MRI techniques - We can scan bones previously repaired with metal devices like pins, plates and screws. People with implanted metal objects typically must avoid MRIs due to the strong magnetic force. The UVM Medical Center is the only facility in Vermont to offer this sophisticated scanning technique for bones fixed with metal.
- Diagnostic accuracy - Our fellowship-trained radiologists have specialized expertise in reading complicated bone scans so you can be sure you are being diagnosed accurately.
- A hybrid operating room - Our operating room is equipped with advanced medical imaging devices. Our orthopedic surgeons use special radiology techniques to create 3-D images of bones during surgery. This ensures precise placement of devices like pins and screws and provides you with optimal results.
- Experience with serious injuries - We are the only Level 1 trauma center in the state. Our doctors are able to provide the highest level of advanced orthopedic specialty care to individuals who have experienced serious injury or accident.
Diagnosing Broken Bones
Our specialists will use the latest diagnostic techniques to determine the type and severity of bone break or bone deformity.
Our experts specialize in diagnosing and treating:
- Hand, wrist or arm breaks
- Foot, ankle or leg breaks
- Upper extremity breaks
- Bone breaks in children
- Sports-related injuries
- Joint problems
- Orthopedic trauma
- Congenital bone deformities
- Limb deformities caused by improper casting or treatment
- Limb lengthening
Diagnosing your injury could involve:
- Physical exam - A doctor will examine the injury and ask you questions about your symptoms, physical activity, and when the pain began
- X-ray - Our experienced radiology team will take pictures of the structures inside your body using a small amount of radiation.
- CT Scan - Using our advanced CT scan technology, we can create detailed 3-D images of structures inside the body.
- MRI - With magnets and radio waves, MRIs take images of the inside of the body. We are the only facility in Vermont able to take MRIs of patients with metal devices in their bodies.
Types of Bone Breaks
The severity of a bone break often depends on the cause. Traumas like car accidents or falls are likely to result in more serious breaks than those due to osteoporosis or stress fractures.
Types of bone breaks include:
- Closed - The broken bone doesn't penetrate the skin.
- Compound or open - The broken bone penetrates the skin, increasing infection risk.
- Stable - The ends of the broken bones line up.
- Displaced - The ends of the broken bones don't line up.
- Hairline - A thin bone fracture.
- Single - The bone break occurs in one place.
- Segmental - The bone break occurs in two or more places.
- Comminuted - The bone is shattered into three or more fragments.
Treatment for Broken Bones
Treatment depends on the type and severity of the broken bone. Not all breaks require casts. However, if the break is open, displaced, segmental or comminuted, then we will need to perform surgery first, followed by casting. Our team of orthopedic specialists will work together to carefully assess the best course of treatment to mend your broken bones.
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