The human body can ordinarily take quite a beating. Strong bones, thick skin and protection for your organs allow you to come through some traumatic events relatively unscathed.
Then, in other instances, the forces exerted on your body push it beyond its breaking point, and you suffer serious injuries. One of those injuries could involve an open bone fracture, which could actually be life-threatening without quick and proper treatment.
What is an open fracture, and how do doctors treat it?
An open fracture occurs when the bone breaks and pierces through the skin or close to it. You may have heard this called a compound fracture as well. The treatment for this type of injury is far from simple. It isn’t as easy as resetting the bone and putting on a cast. Instead, you will probably go through the following sequence of medical treatments:
- The first step in your treatment involves a surgical procedure to clean the bone to sterilize it and allow doctors to get a better look at the damage. More than likely, bacteria and other contaminants, such as your clothing and other outside materials, got into your body and even on the bone, and this needs cleaning to reduce the possibility of infection.
- During this procedure, the bone will also need debridement, which is the removal of those foreign materials mentioned above. It also provides the opportunity to remove any soft tissue that is no longer viable.
- Once doctors complete these steps, the bone then requires stabilization. This may require the use of rods, plates and screws, pins or some other method deemed best in your circumstances.
- You will then receive antibiotics in a further attempt to fend off infection.
Obviously, this type of injury requires additional recovery time that a closed fracture would probably not need. You may end up staying in the hospital for some time. Whether you achieve a full recovery depends on a variety of factors that doctors may not know in the immediate aftermath of the injury. If you contract an infection, despite the best efforts of medical personnel, your recovery could take even longer.
While you focus on your recovery, you may also worry about how you will pay your medical bills and support you and your family through this ordeal. If your accident resulted from the recklessness or negligence of another party, you may pursue compensation for your financial losses that could end up including any additional funds you may need for future medical and other needs.