Humerus Fractures: Avascular Necrosis Can Be Serious

Humerus Fractures: Avascular Necrosis can be Serious

Humerus Fractures: Avascular Necrosis Can Be Serious

I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Attorney in Sacramento. The humerus is one of the thickest bones of the body. Making up the upper arm, it helps connect the wrist and hands to the shoulder. Because of how thick the humerus is, it requires a tremendous amount of force to break. Some of the common ways that people might fracture their humerus include:

  • A direct force or blow in an auto accident.
  • A fall on an outstretched hand.
  • Trauma applied directly to the elbow.

When people break their humerus, there is a variety of symptoms that they could feel. While pain at the site of the bone fracture is to be expected, some of the other symptoms include:

  • Swelling at the injury site.
  • Pain that is worse with movement.
  • A loss of mobility of the upper arm.
  • Possible bleeding (seen with open fractures).
  • Profuse sweating and high heart rate.

An article published in Arthritis Care found that:

  • In 2008, close to 400,000 people visited the emergency room for humerus fractures.
  • The most common type of humerus fracture was of the proximal humerus.
  • Proximal humerus fractures were more common in the elderly.
  • Distal humerus fractures were most common in elementary school children.
  • Close to 500,000 emergency room visits will likely be due to humerus fractures in 2030.

It is essential to diagnose and treat these fractures quickly to avoid serious complications. Some of them can be devastating.

Complications of Humerus Fractures: Avascular Necrosis

If people fail to treat their fracture quickly, it is possible that their humerus could heal improperly. This is called malunion and happens when bones heal before they are placed in the anatomically correct location. Other possible complications include infection and early arthritis. The disease occurs when the skin is broken and exposes the tissues of the arm to the outside world. Arthritis happens at an earlier age because damage to the bones can also damage the cartilage as well. One of the most severe complications that can occur is called avascular necrosis. This happens when there is a loss of blood supply to the head of the humerus, called the axillary artery. Also called osteonecrosis, damage to the bones in a fracture can cut the blood vessels that supply the shoulder. As a result, the head of the humerus collapses. This is a severe complication that requires immediate treatment.

Treatment of Avascular Necrosis of the Femur

There are several different treatment options for humerus fractures. The most crucial step in the procedure is to restore the flow of blood to the humeral head. Medications and physical therapy exercises are used first. Examples of possible medications include cholesterol-lowering drugs and anticoagulants. Physical therapy is designed to help increase the range of motion and control pain. If this doesn’t work, surgery is the next step. With the operation, the goal is to remove the dead tissue and resurface the head of the humerus. This could mean a procedure called an arthroscopy, where a dead bone is removed and replaced with a bone graft. On the other hand, this might also mean an arthroplasty or partial surgical replacement of the dead bone. A newer procedure is called a resurfacing implant which bears a remarkable similarity to a hip or knee replacement.

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Personal Injury Lawyers in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Attorney in Sacramento. If you or a loved one has developed complications following a bone fracture, please call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. I will welcome the chance to share friendly, free advice.

I am proud to be a trial lawyer in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

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Image Sourcing: The photo placed at the top of this article was found first on Unsplash. Reproduction of the picture has occurred here with permission