Femur Fracture Complications can be Serious for Patients
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. While repairing a broken bone is often the first priority after an accident, there are also a number of complications that patients and medical providers must watch out for. This is especially important when someone has broken their femur, as this is one of the largest bones in the body and can lead to life-threatening complications.
Fat Emboli in Femur Fractures
When someone suffers a bone fracture after either a pedestrian injury or an motor vehicle accident, the bone marrow may start to leak out. When this marrow leaks out, small cholesterol plaques can be released that can clog vessels in various parts of the body. This can cause a heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, or any number of other dangerous blood clots. Some signs to watch out for include small spots of bruising and bleeding, called petechiae, which represent one of the most common physical exam findings when fat emboli are present. Failure to recognize this clinical finding early can lead to serious and even life-threatening complications.
Avascular necrosis is another relatively common and serious complication that can develop following a traumatic injury such as a femur fracture. When the head and neck of the femur is involved, this complication is even more common. The head of the femur is home to a large number of blood vessels that provide oxygen to the various tissues in the area. When this bone is broken, this blood flow can become disrupted, leaving the tissues in the area starved for oxygen. It is important for medical providers to be alert to the signs and symptoms of avascular necrosis. On imaging of femur fractures, a common radiographic finding is called the crescent sign, representing bone cells that have become starved for nutrients in the wake of avascular necrosis. Without rapid treatment, the bone tissue can become necrotic and may have to be removed, impacting the patient’s long-term quality of life.
Femur Fracture Surgery
When surgery on a femur hip fracture is performed, surgeons use a technique called intramedullary nailing. There is always a risk that an infection can develop. Unlike a respiratory infection, a bone infection can be much more difficult to treat. The surgery site may become swollen and patients may have a significant amount of pain when bearing weight on a repaired joint. There may also be drainage and redness around the surgical site. If an infection is suspected, an ultrasound or a x-ray might be necessary to look for a fluid pocket. A bone infection is termed osteomyelitis and can require multiple rounds of antibiotics through an IV to treat. Patients may have to stay in a hospital for a longer period of time until the bone heals. Some patients with femur fractures may even require a return to an operating room to drain the infection and then go to physical therapy.
Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer and Bone Fracture Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. There are many different complications that can develop after a femur fracture, many of which can be serious. Those who have developed a complication after a femur fracture should contact me by phone at (916) 921-6400 for friendly, free advice. My office also maintains a toll-free line for visitors calling from beyond the Sacramento region, available at (800) 404-5400.
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