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Information on fractures from auto accidents.

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Fractures from car accidents

What is a fracture?

A fracture is a break in any bone.  Michigan auto accident victims frequently suffer fractures to their spinal vertebrae, arms, and leg bones.  In fact, fractures are the most frequent in victims of an auto accident than any other kind of significant trauma.

Spinal fractures

There are five types of spinal fractures that you should know about.

  • Compression fractureThe front of a vertebra breaks and loses height, but the back of the vertebrae does not.
  • Transverse process fracture: This type of fracture results from rotation or extreme sideways bending.
  • Axial burst fracture: The broken vertebrae will lose height in the front and back of the spine.
  • Fracture-dislocation: This is a personal injury involving bone and soft tissue in which one vertebra may move off of the adjacent vertebra and creates a displacement.
  • Flexion/distraction (chance) fracture: The vertebrae are pulled apart, this is more likely to happen in a head-on car crash in which the upper body is thrown forward while the pelvis is stabilized by a seat belt.

Arm fractures

An arm fracture, or a broken arm, involves a break in any of the three bones in a person’s arm: the humerus, radius, and ulna.  The most common arm fractures that occur are:

  • Compound fracture: The broken bone pierces the skin.
  • Closed fracture: The skin is not pierced by the broken bone.
  • Comminuted fracture: The bone breaks into several pieces.
  • Displaced fracture: The bone fragments are not aligned at the site of the break.

Leg Fractures

A leg fracture, or broken leg, involves a break in any of the three bones in a person’s leg.  These include the femur, tibia, and fibula.  The most common leg fractures include:

  • Compound fracture: The broken bone pierces the skin.
  • Closed fracture: The skin is not pierced by the broken bone.
  • Displaced fracture: The bone fragments are not aligned at the site of the break.
  • Comminuted fracture: The bone breaks into several pieces.
  • Incomplete fracture: The bone cracked but did not break into two parts.
  • Complete fracture: The bone makes a clean break into two parts.

Diagnosis and treatment

A simple X-ray is generally used to determine if there is a break and the extent to which the damage is. Doctors will also use an X-ray to determine the exact location of the break and determine if there is any injury to the adjacent joints.  Occasionally, doctors may want to do a CT scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Typically the broken bone will be set back into place and a cast will be placed on the patient, except where spinal fractures are present.  Spinal fractures typically require surgery such as vertebroplasty, vertebrae fusion, or the implantation of an artificial disc.

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