There are some instances when a person experiences a break that never heals even after being treated. These “nonunions” are serious health threats that demand qualified medical attention.
While nonunions may be painless, if left untreated, they may become very unstable, as the surrounding bone gets weaker. Patients with nonunions in their lower extremities often have to rely on crutches, wheelchairs or other equipment for movement and mobility. Of course, bone healing is different for everyone. And while very rare, nonunions may eventually heal; this called a “delayed union.” But generally, if six months passes without healing, a nonunion has developed, and specific treatments, typically orthopaedic surgeries, are required.
Under the leadership of J. Dean Cole, MD, the Florida Hospital Orthopaedic Institute Fracture Care Center (FCC) offers patients an excellent alternative for nonunions. Dr. Cole and his fellow surgeons have years of experience in diagnosing and treating these healing problems. And Dr. Cole’s focus on minimally invasive surgery means that the correct healing process will be started much more quickly.
There are actually two types of nonunions: fibrous nonunions, fractures that have healed by forming fibrous (naturally strong) tissue, rather than new bone; and false joints (Pseudarthrosis), caused by continuously shifting fracture fragments. False joints are especially common in fractures of the wrists, feet, shoulders and shins.
Various published studies suggest that the leading risk factors for fracture nonunions include: unstable fractures; multiple long bone fractures; advanced age; and obesity. Biological functions, such as excessive movements, a poor blood supply, infections, and bone disease (like cancer), may also contribute. Nonunions may also occur due to excessive traction, or when tissue, like muscle, is caught between the fracture fragments.
Please see our treatments page for available options at the Fracture Care Center for nonunions. But regardless of your particular condition, these injuries require the care of qualified orthopaedic medical professionals, such as Dr. Cole and his team. For more information on nonunions and our available minimally invasive options, please contact us.
A nonunion is when the normal healing process of a bone fracture never occurs. The Florida Hospital Orthopaedic Institute Fracture Care Center (FCC) provides patients with expert diagnosis and treatment for nonunions and their related complications.
Various Factors Impact Bone Healing
Typically, the rate and effectiveness of bone healing incorporates various factors. These include the fracture’s type and location, the amount of blood flow provided, and the health and quality of the surrounding muscle and skin. The specific method or procedure utilized to stabilize the various bone pieces impacts bone healing. It’s has also been shown that those fractures involving open wounds are associated with a lack of healing.
However, J.Dean Cole, MD, and his fellow surgeons are uniquely skilled in treating nonunions using minimally invasive surgery (MIS) to promote the more rapid healing of bones and related soft tissues. These procedures avoid large incisions, which allows for continual supply of the proper level of blood to patients’ bones and soft tissues. As a result, the healing and recovery periods are much quicker, while the risks for infections and complications are reduced. Patients also have less likelihood of large scarring and wounds being formed. These procedures also result in a dramatically lower chance of the development of further nonunions.
Groundbreaking Invention to Treat Nonunion
Dr. Cole, a pioneer in the field of orthopaedic traumatology, has developed a full range of unique approaches and devices to treat complex orthopaedic conditions utilized by surgeons worldwide. In the case of nonunions, Dr. Cole performs minimally invasive surgery to realign the fracture fragments into their normal positions. He stabilizes these fractures with the implantation of one of Dr. Cole’s own inventions, a specially designed cable mechanism utilized for nonunions and other fractures. This innovation provides patients with a stable, secure method to repair separated bones. As an added benefit, Dr. Cole’s cable mechanism eliminates the need for additional orthopaedic procedures to remove the hardware.
The Fracture Care Center team is experienced in the treatment of nonunions, please contact us to learn more.