What should you know about open fractures?

Fractures are serious injuries to any degree, but some fractures definitely have more concerning components to them than others.

This includes open fractures, which can come with numerous potential risks and complications.

What is an open fracture?

The National Library of Medicine looks at how to manage open fractures. First up is understanding an open fracture. Fortunately, these are extremely easy to identify due to the fact that they involve the broken bone penetrating through the skin.

In other words, if a person has an open fracture, the bone is visible.

What are the risks?

Because of the exposure of bone and tissue, infection poses an immediate risk. It is important for sufferers of open fractures to get the injury cleaned appropriately and quickly.

Infection of the bone may also occur, and this is a tricky type of infection to treat. The more damage done to the flesh and bone, the higher the potential risk of infection, too.

How are open fractures treated?

In the event of an infection, a person may get placed on long-term antibiotics. Surgery is also an option for particularly severe infection.

When stabilizing an open fracture, external stabilization often happens first. Doctors place screws or pins into the bone below and above the fracture itself. These screws or pins extend out of the skin and attach to metal or carbon fiber bars.

Soft tissue reconstruction can then help to close the puncture wound made by the bone. Healing is an extensive process, so many sufferers of open fractures have an unfortunately long road to recovery ahead.