Bones may be fractured due to trauma such as a car accident or osteoporosis which causes weakening of bone density. As an experienced orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Khumalo is well-versed in the management of fractures in various parts of the body including the pelvis and acetabulum. Depending on the cause, fractures may vary. A fracture may be stable or an open compound fracture:
In addition the fracture line may be horizontal (known as a transverse fracture), angled (known as an oblique fracture) or comminuted in which the bone has shattered into fragments.
Dr Khumalo prioritises blood supply and soft-tissue health during the initial management of fractures. After this, the management of fractures will depend on the severity and location of the break and may involve either non-surgical or surgical treatment.
Non-surgical methods may include immobilisation of the area in addition to splinting, casting, bracing or traction, while surgical approaches may be required for fractures including:
Treatment of these fractures may involve the following surgical approaches:
Internal fixation may be required for some fractures. During this surgery, the bone fragments are repositioned and a metal plate is attached internally to the outside of the bone with pins or screws, to join the broken bone. The bone fragments may also be held together by inserting rods through the bone marrow in the centre of the bone.
External fixation is the surgical treatment of fractures in which a rigid frame is attached to the outside of the fracture site through wires or pins that are connected internally to the bone. This device stabilises the bone while it heals.
Fractures to the pelvis and acetabulum are however treated differently.
Pelvic fracturesThese fractures are usually caused by high impact trauma such as car accidents, or due to falls in the elderly. Because the pelvis is in proximity to major blood vessels and organs, fractures in this area may cause extensive bleeding and injuries that will require immediate attention. The pelvis is a ring-like structure, which means that fractures in this area are often accompanied by fractures or damage to ligaments in other areas of the pelvis. A pelvic fracture may be stable or unstable, and open or closed.
Acetabulum fractureso Acetabulum fractures An acetabular fracture is a break in the socket portion of the "ball-and-socket" hip joint. These fractures are very rare but may be caused by high impact trauma such as car accidents, or due to falls in the elderly. Acetabular fractures may be stable or unstable, and open or closed but are often treated using surgery to stabilize the hip joint and restore its normal structure.
Depending on the severity and the specific location of the fracture, the bone may take several weeks to heal. You may also be advised to have physiotherapy to regain the strength of the muscles in the area where the fracture took place. Future fractures may be prevented with a proper diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D will promote bone strength.