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How do doctors treat bone fractures?

Bone fractures are common in car accidents and they can range from minor in severity to serious. If you've suffered from any kind of broken bone after a serious collision, you may want to learn a little bit about how doctors will likely treat your condition to facilitate the healing process.

Diagnosis and treatment of broken bones

What patients should know regarding the way doctors diagnose and treat a broken bone:

Physical exam: The first stage of diagnosing a bone fracture involves a physical exam performed by the doctor who will look for various signs and symptoms of a bone fracture. The doctor will also ask the patient -- or witnesses of the accident -- a series of questions to determine what happened.

X-rays: Doctors will usually want to take a closer look at the injury to determine how bad the bone break is, and X-rays are an excellent way to investigate. A CT scan or MRI scan will also help to diagnose the problem in addition to X-rays.

The natural healing process: The natural healing process for a bone will begin immediately after a fracture occurs. The doctor's job is to facilitate, support and guide the healing process to ensure the maximum level of recovery for the patient. This usually involves some form of immobilization so that the bone can set and solidify without interference.

Resetting the bones: Doctors may need to "reduce the fracture" which refers to the setting of the bone tissues so they are lined up appropriately. The doctor may put the patient under general anesthesia while he or she manually manipulates the bones into place or performs a surgery to access the bones beneath the skin.

Immobilization: Next, the doctor will immobilize the bones via screws or metal plates, plaster casts, braces or internal rods and nails. Immobilization typically lasts for a period of two to eight weeks, during which time the bones will begin to heal on their own.

How did your bone fracture happen?

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your broken bone, you might want to determine if another party is liable for the costs relating to your medical care. The treatment of a serious fracture -- especially if it requires surgical intervention -- will not be an inexpensive undertaking. However, if successfully navigated, a personal injury claim to recoup financial damages could be a viable way to cover those costs.

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