A fracture is a condition in which there is break in the continuity of the bone. In younger individuals these fractures are caused from high energy injuries, as from a motor vehicle accident. In older people the most common cause is weak and fragile bone.
Diagnosis is made through your medical history, physical examination, and other diagnostic imaging tests. X-rays are taken to know whether the bone is intact or broken. X-rays are also helpful to know the type and location of fracture. Your doctor may also recommend a computerized tomography (CT) scan to know the severity of fracture.
Treatment options include non-surgical and surgical. Non-surgical treatment involves skeletal traction and use of casts and braces. Skeletal traction involves placement of pin into the bone in order to realign broken bones. Surgery involves internal fixation and external fixation.
During the procedure, metal pins or screws are inserted into the middle of the femur and tibia and are attached to a device outside the skin to hold bone fragments in place to allow alignment and healing.
If your bone is fractured in many pieces, a plate or rod is fixed at both ends of the fracture to maintain the overall shape and length of the bone in place while it heals. In elder patients where fracture healing delays, a bone graft taken from the patient or tissue bank may be used to form callous. In severe case, the bone fragments are removed and the bone is replaced with a knee replacement implant.
The most common complications of surgery include infection, knee stiffness, delayed bone healing, and knee arthritis.