Bones have a great capacity to self-heal. If you had a fracture, most of the time it heals properly with proper treatment and without any complications. Occasionally, broken bones may heal in the wrong direction, forming a “malunion” even after treatment. This mal-alignment of bones can cause pain and various cosmetic problems as well.
Dr. Vasudeva Juvvadi, the best orthopaedic surgeon in Hyderabad, gives you to all the knowledge about malunions, which includes causes of improper healing and what can be done to correct it.
What Is Malunion or Malalignment?
Well, malunion occurs in patients with fractures because the fracture did not heal correctly. This gradually leads to pain or dysfunction. It may be due to improper alignment or wasn’t set correctly, or the bone twisted itself by any means and healed in that position. Malunion may lead to shorter bone length than usual, twisted bones or bent bones. Malunions can occur in the fractured hand, wrist, forearm, ankle and leg with a certain angulation, or bend that occurs during bone healing.
Usually, when you have a malunion, doctors evaluate the position of the healed fracture and whether it is functioning normally or not. In most of the cases, the fracture that heals incorrectly intervenes with the activities involved by the limb. In such cases, surgery is inevitable to correct it.
Some of the common fractures in the body that might result in malunion are wrist fractures (distal radius), hand bones fractures(metacarpals), and fractures to fingers or thumbs (phalanges) and foot & ankle fractures. If any of your fractured limbs were healed but not functioning well; you need to consult an orthopaedician immediately.
What Are The Causes of Malunion?
A malunion fracture happens when the space between two fractured bones have been filled with a new bone during the healing process. The most common cause of malunion fracture is because it didn’t receive the correct treatment, or the patient didn’t follow the instructions properly after the fracture cast. In the past, the most common cause used to be non-operative treatment with a cast.
The common cause of malunions are:-
Too much or lack of mobility at the fracture site
Removing the cast too early
Never taking medical treatment for the broken bone.
Degeneration of the bone and tissue and inadequate blood supply.
Malunions can be painful and may swell around the fracture area.
Read Postoperative Care Instructions To Avoid Malunion Fractures: https://www.drvasuortho.com/malunion-fracture/.
Diagnosis/Treatment of Malunion
To diagnose a malunion, an orthopaedician examines previous medical reports and performs physical examination initially. Later an x-ray is taken to find the exact problem. If the surgeon requires more information, he may suggest for a CT Scan or an MRI.
MRI is very helpful in checking the cartilage and ligament issues developed due to malunion fractures or misalignment. CT scans can be used to locate abnormal structures in the body and also helpful in guiding the placement of implants during procedures or treatments.
Treatment For Malunion
If a malunion is diagnosed and located, surgical intervention is the most common procedure to correct a malunion fracture. Typically, an orthopaedic surgeon will do an osteotomy, i.e. the bone is cut and realigned and fixed it again in a proper position. In some cases, the bone needs to be trimmed for appropriate alignment of the fractured ends depending on the type of malunion. Surgeons use some special techniques to make the process more stable.
Internal fixators which include metal rods, plates nails are fixed inside to keep the bone in position. These techniques are used for breaks of long bones, such as arm or leg bones.
External fixator metal devices are used to stabilize the affected bone and route it to heal in a proper direction. These external fixators are mostly used in complex and open fractures.
Bone grafting – It is a procedure in which healthy bone tissue is transplanted into a broken bone. This new bone tissue helps to grow faster placed at the site of trimmed bone or grow around the devices implanted and helps to fix the damaged bones.
Malunion may not happen all the time in fracture healing. It is rare but can result in serious health issues and cosmetic problems also. However, expert orthopaedic doctors are online to manage the defects of malunion effectively. For more than a decade, Dr. Vasudeva Juvvadi is the most well-regarded Orthopaedic Surgeon at Sunshine Hospital and has been providing excellent treatment for malunion fractures.