Comminuted Fracture Recovery: What to Expect

Comminuted Fracture Recovery: What to Expect

Broken bones need careful healing. That’s extra true if you have a comminuted fracture, meaning that your bone is broken in more than one place.

At the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Dr. Michael Blackwell sees bone injuries and fractures of all types. Dr. Blackwell treats new and existing patients from his locations in Kingwood, Tomball, and The Woodlands, Texas.

If you’ve suffered a comminuted fracture, you need time and care to recover. Dr. Blackwell can help you understand what to expect from your recovery, as well as advise you on tips and tricks to improve and accelerate your healing. Here’s what you need to know.

Just after a comminuted fracture

You’re most likely to break a bone in multiple places after severe trauma like a car accident. Bones in locations around your body can break in this way. You could be dealing with a comminuted fracture in your upper or lower leg, upper or lower arm, your collarbone, or even your skull.

After a comminuted fracture, you experience intense pain and physical dysfunction. You may also be able to see your bone through your skin. In this situation, you need immediate medical care.

Surgery for comminuted fractures

Comminuted fractures in large bones, like the long bones in your arms and legs, typically require surgery. It’s possible that comminuted fractures in small bones may be able to heal without surgical intervention. 

Dr. Blackwell uses diagnostic imaging tests like X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to learn more about your broken bone and related care needs.

Depending on your condition, Dr. Blackwell may need to realign, or “set,” the affected bone. Then he secures it in the right position so it heals correctly.

You may need bone grafts as part of surgical stabilization after a comminuted fracture.

Dr. Blackwell often uses internal fixation techniques to hold your bone in the proper place, including inserted rods, plates and screws, or pins and wires. These may be removed later in an additional surgery, or it might make more sense for them to stay in your body over the long term.

External fixation means you need a brace or bracket outside of your body to keep your bone in the right place during healing.

Postsurgical stabilization

After your broken bone is surgically stabilized, the long part of your recovery really starts. Recovering from comminuted fractures can take a year or beyond, significantly longer than the recovery period for less serious types of breaks.

After surgery, your affected bone needs to be immobilized with a cast, brace, or splint. For a few weeks, your symptoms of pain, bruising, and swelling may be notable. Depending on how you broke your bone, you may need ongoing hospitalization for trauma care.

After a few weeks, it’s time to start moving again. Physical therapy supports your healing body, helping you rebuild strength and stamina without overstressing your injuries.

Discuss your unique recovery needs with Dr. Blackwell. Just understand that recovering from a comminuted fracture is a long process, and it may also involve recuperating from other traumas, as well. Be prepared to give yourself all the time you need to fully recover after this type of injury.

For support with broken bones, including severe comminuted fractures, contact Dr. Blackwell at the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine today. You can schedule an appointment by booking online or over the phone.

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