Breaking a bone can be an intensely painful experience for a child, and fixing it requires specialized care. If your child suffers a severe injury, visit fellowship-trained pediatric orthopedic surgeon Roderick Capelo, MD, at Pediatric Sports and Spine Associates in Grapevine, Texas. Dr. Capelo and his team are experts in pediatric fractures, having the skills to assess and repair breaks that could interfere with a child’s musculoskeletal development. For expert care of pediatric fractures, call Pediatric Sports and Spine Associates today or book an appointment online.
Pediatric fractures are broken bones in children. Young bones are more flexible than adult ones, with a thicker covering. They’re better able to absorb levels of shock that would break an adult’s bone.
Because of this, pediatric fractures tend to differ from the breaks adults experience. The most common kinds of pediatric fractures are:
A greenstick fracture is so named because the bone bends like green (live) wood, breaking on one side but staying intact on the other.
Torus fractures are ones where the bone twists, buckles, and weakens but doesn’t completely break.
Complete fractures, where the bone breaks into two or more pieces, can also occur under sufficient force. Fractures may be non-displaced (the broken ends remain in alignment) or displaced (the broken ends no longer align).
A closed fracture is one where the skin remains intact, whereas a compound fracture is one where the bone pokes through the skin. Pediatric fractures take far less time to heal than broken bones in adults.
One reason pediatric fractures require specialized care is that the doctor needs to know how children’s bones break (as described above) and the specific treatment they require. Another reason is that growing bones can suffer damage to the growth plates.
Growth plates are at the ends of a child’s bones. They regulate future bone growth, so if they don’t heal properly after a fracture, the bone might develop more slowly than the child’s other bones or grow out at an angle.
These faults aren’t always apparent because it takes a year or more from when a child suffers an injury to see the impact on the bone’s growth.
It’s important to assess the injuries to a child’s bones using X-ray imaging. This enables the Pediatric Sports and Spine Associates team to see the damage and evaluate the growth plates.
Children’s bones heal quickly, so a non-displaced fracture might only need a cast or an immobilizing splint to hold the ends of the bones in place while they repair themselves. A displaced fracture might require closed reduction, where the doctor manipulates the broken bones under anesthesia, then applies a cast when they’re in place.
Open reduction, where the repair requires surgery, is far less common in children. Fractures involving growth plate injuries sometimes require surgery to prevent future growth problems. Also, elbow fractures often heal abnormally, causing crookedness; surgery can minimize this risk.
To benefit from expert pediatric fractures, call Pediatric Sports and Spine Associates today or book an appointment online.