Non-Union and Malunion Bone Fractures
Broken bones, also called fractures, are a relatively simple injury that affect millions of people per year. In fact, osteoporosis alone accounts for an estimated 9 million fractures every year, in addition to the breaks sustained in accidents like car wrecks, slips and falls, and sports injuries. When you suffer from a broken bone, you trust a doctor to help you heal so that you can quickly regain motion and strength. However, sometimes you can develop a non-union or malunion bone fracture.
A malunion occurs when a bone does not set properly. In many cases, a fracture is minor enough, or in a relatively straight part of the bone, so that it can knit together on its own with only the help of a cast for stabilization. However, if a bone twists or is in an area of the body that is difficult to heal, you may need a doctor’s help to realign the bone for repair. Otherwise, the bone may heal at a problematic angle. Additionally, the ends of the bone can be rotated abnormally or overlapping, shortening the overall length of the bone. To fix this problem, an orthopedic surgeon typically must re-break and reset the bones.
Some causes of malunion include:
Misalignment when you are placed in a cast or immobilizing device
Removing the cast or immobilizing device too early
Another complication from a bone fracture is non-union, or a break that fails to heal at all. Instead of healing normally, these fractured bones can instead form false joints, knit with tissue rather than bone or they may fail to grow new bone. There are several different causes of nonunion, such as:
Too much motion at the site of the fracture
Bone ends that are too far apart
Bone disease or infection
Tissue or muscle in between the bone ends
Inadequate blood supply
It is a doctor’s responsibility to make sure that your bone is correctly set and treated so that it can heal seamlessly. If the professionals providing your care have failed to accomplish this and you have suffered adverse effects as a consequence, you may be able to pursue financial compensation.