A comminuted fracture occurs when the bone involved in a fracture breaks into at least three or more pieces. This type of fracture is less common but can be difficult to treat because of the complexity created by the break. In a normal fracture the bone fractures but does not create multiple pieces of bone.
In some instances it’s possible for one of the broken fractured pieces of bone to pierce the skin causing an open fracture. This would allow foreign contaminants such as dirt or bacteria to enter the wound possibly causing infection. This would be called an open fracture.
Another term often used to describe a comminuted fracture is a multi-fragment fracture. A fracture of this nature involves a splintering or even a crushing of the bone and can occur anywhere on the bone. This type of fracture is more common in the elderly or in those who are suffering from any kind of disease that weakens your bones. Tremendous force is also another cause of a comminuted fracture which is commonly attributed to car accidents.
Similar to all other types of fractures, comminuted fractures will carry very distinct symptoms which commonly forces people to see a doctor. Significant pain will be experienced at the site of the fracture especially when the fracture occurs. The area surrounding the fracture will begin swelling and will be warmer than usual. You would not be able to place any weight or pressure onto the fracture without suffering from extreme pain.
A comminuted fracture is simple to diagnose with x-rays. The fracture will be x-rayed and this will show the doctor the precise nature of the fracture as well as the locations of all the pieces of bone that have fractured off. A plan for treatment would then be made based on the findings. In some cases the doctor may opt for surgery in order to pin the bone pieces back together to allow the bone to heal itself properly.
Some complications that may arise due to a comminuted fracture:
- Vascular necrosis
- Compartment syndrome
- Nonunion Bone pieces fail to rejoin
Those who suffer this type of fracture will require more attention to be sure the fracture is set properly and that is healing correctly. It would be best to see a specialist such as an orthopedic doctor when dealing with this type of fracture. If the fracture is not healing the right way the doctor can take action to prevent any complications from appearing.