Bone fracture repair is surgery to fix a broken bone using plates, nails, screws, or pins. Bone grafts may be used to allow for proper healing or to speed the healing process.
Virtua's Fracture Centers at Virtua Berlin and Virtua Memorial are geared towards older adults and uses the most advanced diagnostics and treatments to optimize care and recovery. Each patient is co-managed by an orthopedic surgeon and a primary care doctor or geriatric specialist. The team collaborates to manage pain and, when necessary, expedite surgical intervention. This proven approach helps patients achieve a faster recovery than traditional treatment approaches.
The clinical staff at Virtua's Fracture Center is experienced and compassionate. They use the most advanced diagnostics and treatments to optimize care and recovery. Virtua also has a comprehensive Sports Medicine Program.
Each patient is co-managed by an orthopedic surgeon and a primary care doctor or geriatric specialist. The team collaborates to manage pain and, when necessary, expedite surgical intervention. This proven approach helps patients achieve a faster recovery than traditional treatment approaches.
Virtua's comprehensive and interdisciplinary program includes board-certified orthopedic surgeons, a board-certified geriatric specialist, primary care physicians, nurses with advanced training in orthopedics and gerontology, physical and occupational therapists, and social workers.
Surgery may be necessary to repair a hip fracture. Virtua's board-certified surgeons perform surgery in dedicated orthopedic operating rooms. These are fully equipped with a complete inventory of fracture repair devices and replacement parts to treat every type of fracture. Surgical time varies with the complexity of the fracture.
While the patient is pain-free, using general or local anesthesia, a surgical cut is made over the fractured bone. The bone is placed in proper position. Screws, pins, or plates are attached to or placed in the bone temporarily or permanently. Or, long bones may be fixed with nails placed in the bone cavity.
Any disrupted blood vessels are tied off or burned (cauterized). If a lot of bone has been lost due to the fracture (especially if there is a gap between the broken bone ends), the surgeon may decide to do a bone graft. Bone grafting may be performed using the patient's own bone, usually taken from the hip. Or, the bone may be taken from a donor.
If bone grafting is not necessary, the fracture can be repaired by the following methods:
One or more screws may be inserted across the break to hold it. A steel plate held by screws may be drilled into the bone.
A long, thick metal pin (sometimes called a rod or nail) with holes in it may be driven down the shaft of the bone from one end. Screws are then passed through the bone and through a hole in the pin.
In some cases, blood vessels and nerves are repaired with microsurgery. The opening in the skin is then closed. If the broken bone has pierced the skin, the bone ends need to be washed with sterile fluid in the operating room to prevent infection. The washing process may need to be repeated if the wound becomes infected.
Virtua staff is committed to effectively managing pain. The goal is to ensure patients receive care as quickly as possible. Patients are evaluated by emergency medicine doctors, orthopedic surgeons and geriatric medicine specialists and/or their primary care doctor to prepare them for surgery if necessary.
Virtua's anesthesiologists are highly skilled in treating patients with bone fractures. The anesthesiologist, in conjunction with the doctors, patient, and family, select the most appropriate anesthetic for surgery.
Most patients leave the operating room and recover from anesthesia in a post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). From there, they go to the orthopedic surgical unit for care. Here, too, pain management is an important focus. Care is coordinated by orthopedic surgeons and geriatric medicine specialists or primary care doctors. Patients also receive regular visits from social workers, physical therapists and specially trained nurses.
Daily physical therapy generally starts the first day after surgery. When needed, the therapist provides the patient with a walker to assist recovery. The therapist also teaches the patient exercises to help increase strength and balance.
Virtua offers treatment options, including minimally invasive surgery. The advantages to minimally invasive surgery include:
- Smaller incisions
- Decreased pain after surgery
- Shorter recovery time
- Faster return to normal activities
For patients who need hospital care after surgery, there are floors dedicated to orthopedic patients at Virtua Marlton and Virtua Memorial. These units specialize in the care of orthopedic patients and are staffed by nurses with additional education in orthopedics. Physical therapy is also provided right on these orthopedic units.
Virtua offers a multi-disciplinary team led by the surgeon and supported by orthopedic nurses, case managers to help make the transition from the hospital to home.
For more information, call 1-888-VIRTUA-3.