The functioning of the arm and shoulder is dependent on the group of bones that make the shoulder.
The shoulder is formed of the collarbone (clavicle), shoulder blade (scapula), and upper arm bone (humerus).
The acromioclavicular, sternoclavicular, and glenohumeral joints (ball and socket joint), together will help the shoulder function.
A fracture to any of these bones that comprise the shoulder greatly hamper mobility and are extremely painful.
The treatment approach depends on the type and nature of the fracture, which could be of the following types:
Bones maintain their relative positions. Non-displaced fractures account for 80 percent of the shoulder fractures and can be treated without surgery.
Pieces of the fractured bone are displaced from their original position. Such fractures need surgery to realign the bones to their original positions.
Fractures can be further classified into the following categories:
The clavicle is also called the collarbone, the long, slender bone positioned at the base of the neck.
It is also referred to as the shoulder blade. It makes the upper back region, which is a flat and triangular bone.
The scapula contains the shoulder joint socket (glenoid). Fractures to this region could result from falls or motor accidents, leading to dislocation of the shoulder or shoulder joint instability.
This is a fracture to the upper part of the arm bone, which spans the shoulder to the elbow joint.
Physical examination to check the mobility and pain associated with the fracture.
Imaging techniques such as X-rays, MRI, CT scans, and musculoskeletal ultrasound to identify the exact position and nature of fracture to determine the course of the treatment.
Shoulder fracture treatment:
The treatment approach depends on the nature of the fracture. Non-displaced fractures can be healed by non-invasive techniques and procedures.
However, displaced fractures need surgery and conservative techniques for effective treatment and recovery.
Shoulder fracture fixation surgery:
This kind of surgery is needed when the bones in the shoulder are displaced or the bone pierces through the skin.
Here the associated tendons, ligaments, and muscles, which may be damaged, will also require repair.
The bones are repositioned and held together by hardware that includes plates, screws, and pins. Bone grafting and soft tissue (tendons and ligaments) repair is performed where required.
Partial shoulder replacement surgery:
This procedure is needed for cases when the shoulder suffers a severe fracture, wherein the repair cannot be made only using the existing bones.
The procedure makes use of a conventional shoulder replacement device. The device consists of the metal ball and stem which replaces the damaged ball and the upper section of the hummers (arm bone).
The advantage of this procedure is that patients undergoing this procedure have enhanced function with an increase in the range of mobility, leading to a better quality of life.
Reverse total shoulder replacement surgery:
In this procedure, the metal ball and socket are interchanged. In the partial replacement, the metal ball is fitted on the humerus,
whereas in this case the metal ball is attached to the socket and the humerus has a plastic cup to receive the metal ball attached to the socket.
In this type of fracture repair too, patients are relieved of their pain and lead a good lifestyle with an improved range of shoulder joint mobility.
Non-union and malunion shoulder fracture surgery:
Non-union refers to incomplete healing of the bone. Malunion, on the other hand, is complete healing of the bone despite improper alignment, leading to a deformity.
Doctors will then have to perform another surgery in such a case to resolve the cause of the nonunion or malunion. This could be to remove an infection or may require the usage of a bone graft.
Pain that does not self-resolve.
Swelling around the shoulder
Tenderness in the shoulder region
The stability of the shoulder seems impacted while doing simple tasks.
Any deformity (protrusions) around the shoulder joint.
The patient post-surgery requires an ample amount of rest and needs to keep the shoulder and arm immobilized using a wrap or a sling until the time the bones heal.
Once the bones heal, the exercises begin for the patient to gain strength, mobility and to restore complete functioning of the shoulder joint.
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