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A severe open fracture is often a life-changing injury

by | Dec 19, 2019 | Firm News |

The injuries that you could suffer in a serious motor vehicle accident can vary widely, even among the occupants of your vehicle. Someone could walk away with only minor injuries while you suffer serious injury.

One such injury is an open fracture. This type of bone break comes with complications not at issue with a closed fracture, and it could alter your life forever.

Open fracture versus closed fracture

A closed fracture is one in which the bone fractures or breaks without piercing the skin. In contrast, an open fracture, or compound fracture, is one in which the bone, perhaps in pieces, pierces the skin. This makes the bone, the muscles, tendons and everything else on the interior of the body extremely vulnerable. Infection is the biggest enemy of this type of injury, and if measures are not taken quickly, it could lead to death.

The more severe the injury, the more likely you will end up with a protracted recovery and life changing repercussions. The factors that determine severity include the following:

  • Where the wound is on your body
  • Whether the soft tissues in the area of the wound still have good blood supply
  • The extent of the damage to the soft tissues surrounding the wound
  • The number and size of the bone fragments

Unlike a closed fracture, the first step in treating an open fracture is nearly always surgery. The first concern is to reduce the chances of infection as much as possible. The surgeon begins with debridement, which involves cleaning out the wound of dirt, clothing and other debris that may have gotten into the wound during the accident. The wound is then irrigated to help ensure that nothing is missed. The final step in the surgery is to stabilize the bone as much as possible both internally and externally.

You aren’t out of the woods yet

Even if your doctors would categorize the surgery as a success, the risk of infection remains for some time. Your doctors will monitor you and give you the appropriate medications to help with your healing process. Not only are they watching for a general infection but also one that could get into the bone itself. If this happens, your recovery will end up even longer since it often takes more surgery and several rounds of antibiotics to cure.

The bone itself may also give you trouble since it may not heal properly. It may not fuse as it should. A non-union fracture will more than likely require more surgery in order to insert a bone graft, insert a rod, reset the bone or take some other surgical measure to give you as much function of the leg as possible.

Holding a negligent driver responsible

If you are going through all of this due to the negligence of the other driver involved in the accident, you may have legal recourse. It would be wise to consult with a personal injury attorney to gain an understanding of your rights, along with the best way forward as you pursue the compensation you deserve.