Nonunion of fracture is a condition that happens when a broken bone, or fracture,
does not heal.
More to Know
Broken bones are
common, and if treated properly, most heal with no problems. Bones will typically
form new tissue to fill in the fractures and reconnect the pieces. In some cases,
however, broken bones simply don’t heal. This is known as nonunion. Cases that
take longer than normal to heal are called delayed union. Fracture nonunion generally
needs advanced treatment when the normal treatments for broken bones don’t work.
To mend itself, a broken bone needs stability, nutrition, and adequate blood supply.
If something disrupts any of these things, it can keep the bone from healing correctly.
Factors that can interfere with a bone’s ability to heal include old age, severe
anemia, low vitamin
D levels, diabetes,
infection, the use of tobacco or nicotine, and certain anti-inflammatory medicines.
Nonunion fractures can cause pain at the site of the break months or even years
after the break should have been healed. Nonunions are often treated with devices
called bone stimulators that use electromagnetic waves to help new bone growth. Other
cases may need surgery
involving bone grafts and the use of rods, pins, plates, or screws to stabilize the
bone while it heals.
Keep in Mind
Nonunion of fracture will not heal on its own and requires further treatment. Failure
to treat a nonunion can lead to long-term pain, deformity, and loss of function in
the affected area. The success rate for surgery or other treatments depends on the
fracture, the health of the patient, and the length of time since the fracture happened.
In most cases, the bone will heal with little or no long-term complications.
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