Back to Basics: Fracture Terminology
Using basic terminology, you should be able to describe any fracture to your consults without embarrassing yourself.
Open vs Closed – open fracture break the skin, closed fracture do not
Location of the Fracture - Midshaft vs Proximal Third vs Distal Third
Intra-articular – if the fracture extends into a joint
Transverse - straight across the bone
Oblique - oblique line across the bone
Spiral – cork-screw twisting fracture
Comminuted – more than 2 parts with splintering or shattering
Segmental – a single free-floating segment between two well-defined fracture lines
Displacement - Extent to which fracture fragments are off set from each other
Describes the direction of displacement of the distal fragment relative to the proximal fragment – can be measured directly or given as a percent of the width of the bone
Separation - the degree to which to fragments are pulled apart
Shortening - a measurement of the reduction in bone length by impaction (telescoping of two fragments into each other) vs overriding (the overlap of two completely displaced fragments)
Angulation – degrees and direction to convey the amount of “unbending” needed to realign the fragments. Specifying the direction of deviation of the distal fragment is the most consistent way to describe the direction.
These basic terms will help you describe most fractures to your consults.
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2. Describing a fracture (an approach). Dr. Craig Hackinget al. http://radiopaedia.org/articles/describing-a-fracture-an-approach
3. First Aid Fractures, Sprains and Strains. Digital Image. Open vs Closed Fracture. http://ecprcertification.com/index.php/page/course/63
4. Types of bone fractures. Digital image. New Health Advisor. https://www.newhealthadvisor.com/Different-Types-of-Fractures.html