Elbow Fractures

Elbow Fractures
May 23, 2016

ElbowFractures_SMPresently as Head in the ‘Shoulder and Hand Division’, MAX Healthcare Dr. Gupta puts forth eminently, “Fractures in the elbow joint are varied and can occur in any of the three bones that make it up. They indirectly and invariably affect both arm and shoulder movements to a great extent.”
Dr. Gupta, one of the most skilled specialists in the field of upper extremity with more than 25 years of experience and 6000 surgeries in the background ponders for a few moments before saying, “Cautiousness is essential if you fall on an outstretched arm or with high force, have weak bones affected by arthritis or any traumatic injury as these factors are enough to break any bone or multiple bones in your elbow.”

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“Immediate swelling and intense pain in the joint are the first common signs enforce the presence of a possible fracture and deformity in the bone shape with a crackling sound indicates severe and displaced fractures so these are the common signals that you should be alert for and on consulting an orthopedic with very simple diagnostic tests the nature of the fractures is ascertained.”

“The patients in India suffer from lack of knowledge about this relatively new field which has made accessibility to upper extremity complications so easy and specialized,” emphasized Dr. Gupta, “I have been to Germany and USA and have relieved many patients in my career from traumatic and severe fractures by applying international techniques for the first time while I was in AIIMS, Medanta and I feel that the treatment plan is basically formulated on the principle of reducing and then holding the bones together in place. Though it depends on a number of factors such as the location of the fracture, is it a displaced or a non displaced fracture, single or multiple fracture and the requirement of the patient’s physical health to bear the technique is also a major contributor to the decision.”

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“Seek an efficient surgeon who restores mobility of your elbow with painless technique and helps you with an equally effective after care rehabilitation”, asserts Dr. Gupta winding up his views on elbow fractures.


FAQ – Elbow Fractures

A break in the humerus (lower part of the arm bone), radius or ulna(upper part of two forearm bones), that comprise the elbow joint , are termed as elbow fractures.
Any stress or injury to the elbow, high force impact, fall on an outstretched arm or any medical condition that results in the weakness of bones over a period of time may result in elbow fractures.
The most common signs that indicate a fracture in the elbow joint are extreme pain and immediate swelling in and around the joint. Other signs that are indicative of fracture are numbness, tenderness and stiffness in the hand, wrist and elbow region. A crackling sound, inability to straighten the elbow and visible deformity in the bone are symptoms of severe fractures which have resulted in bone displacement.
A complete evaluation is conducted by the orthopedics which includes physical examination of the elbow joint by trying to move it and assess the area of intense pain and then imaging test which is an X-ray to ascertain the exact nature of the fracture. In certain cases the orthopedics might opt for CT before planning treatment.
The surgeon takes decision of the technique based on the nature of the fracture but the available techniques are- When the fracture is mild and non displaced the surgeon immobilizes the elbow by a sling for a few weeks and then with medications and therapy induces relief from pain and lost mobility. When the fracture is severe and displaced or multiple then techniques that are undertaken are surgical. Closed Reduction and K-Wire Fixation: By reducing the fracture the bones are held together by K-wire pins and then put on a sling to immobilize it for a few weeks to ensure healing. Open Reduction and Internal Fixation: There are many techniques for this treatment and depending on certain features of the fracture, the most suitable technique is adopted. Elbow Replacement: When the fractures are severe beyond repair then the surgeon might opt for elbow replacement where the elbow joint is replaced by artificial elbow parts to enable normal functioning of the elbow.
If not treated, elbow fractures will heal slowly but with a visible deformity and subsequent stiffness. The lack of proper treatment might also result in elbow arthritis.
The treatment helps to restore motion and provides relief in the intense pain successfully. Though the success ratio varies depending on the skill and expertise of the surgeon and the severity of the fractures.
Some complications that might be associated with the treatment are infection in and around the wound, poor strength, a visible scar, some bones might fail to heal and some unpredicted complications that might come unprecedented with the fracture.
The patient must ensure that the wound is kept clean and dry to avoid infection. Gentle exercises prescribed by the therapist should be practiced regularly to enable movement in hand and wrist and medications should be taken timely to keep down the pain levels.
Resuming of normal routine activities depend on the severity and nature of the fracture, the work that the patient wants to resume and it is best that it is an after discussion advice by the specialist rather than a general opinion.
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