Discussions By Condition: Medical Stories

non-union fracture

Posted In: Medical Stories 8 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • July 28, 2007
  • 06:15 PM

I fell approx 15 feet, landed on my head and shoulder, was knocked out, and lost control of bodily functions. I suffered with a shattered left collarbone,(comminuted fracture), laceration of scalp, and had a lot of soft tissue damage. This happened 16 months ago, and I still have a non-union fracture. The drs wanted to wait to see if it would heal on it's own due to the fact that the main artery that supplies the rest of your body with blood is right at the fracture sight. It was too risky. I have since been on a bone stimulator, had to have arthroscopic surgery for adhesive capsulitis,(frozen shoulder), and have constant pain in my neck. My head was twisted in a weird way when I fell. The x-ray showed deteriation of end plates. My vertebrae are pushed to the left, out of place so bad that you can see and feel it. My therapist said something about my para-spinals. I have headaches in the back of my head almost everyday, and my left shoulder blade sticks out pretty far. It feels like bugs are crawling under the scapula. I have lost my upper body strength, and still have not regained full range of motion in my shoulder. My tendons are still swollen in the front and back of my neck. i never had any neck problems prior to the accident, and requested an MRI. Instead they gave me an MRI of the shoulder. The technician told me right out that I'll probably be back for another MRI of my neck. I couldn't at that time lift my head off of the bed without using my good hand and arm to support it. That was eight months after the accident. My symptoms have improved alot, but it's still a non-union... no more bone stimulator, I do my therapy at home now, took lots of calcium, still have headaches, sometimes blurred vision, speech problems ( stuttering and saying words that don't exist), better range of motion, but still can't raise my arm up very far to the side, and can recch for the stars but can't quite get all of the way there. The dr then stated he would go ahead and put the plate and screws in if I wanted him to. I can live with the range of motion I have. At least I can still have use of my arm. I told him we would have to stop meeting like this, and asked him to discharge me after 14 months. He is a wonderful dr., and helped me so much more than the original dr I had been seeing for the first six
months. He also said my scapular stabilizers were gone, and gave me exercizes to strenghthen them. He said I may never get them back completely since they are gone so long. I sound like a chronic complainer, but this has been a life altering experience. I used to work for a nursing agency, and can't go back until I am fully recovered. I don't want to hurt or drop anyone. My questions? Is there a possibility that the bone will fuse after 16 months? What are the end plates in your neck? My vertebrae are still curved to the left side. I hurt the parietal lobe in my brain when I fell, and had staples. They said i had a slight concussion. Why can't I talk right? It's embarrassing. It usually happens when I get excited or am tired. Do you think my headaches and visual changes are from the neck? I am a 45 year old female, smoked, quit, started up again. Otherwise in good health. I am thin and small framed, but what are some of the under-lying causes of non-union fractures? Help!!!!!!!!!!

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8 Replies:

  • I'm a 21 year old female who broke my right distal fibula in January while iceskating. By May it still hadn't healed, so I started using a bone stimulator. At the beginning of July, it still hadn't healed, and my doctor said that after six months, there is a very small chance of a bone healing on its own. I had an ORIF plus a bone graft on July 10th, and now my bone has fused completely. I still have some swelling and bruising, but my pain, stiffness, and weakness are diminishing rapidly with physical therapy and walking. Since the bone has fused, my overall health has improved. I developed moderate acne about a month after I broke my ankle, and it didn't go away until my ankle fused. Also, I am less fatigued. I don't know how to explain all this, but perhaps a non union fracture puts stress on the body, even when it doesn't seem to hurt too bad. We have yet to discover the cause of my non union fracture. The bone was perfectly aligned, and I stayed completely off of it for two weeks, just like I was supposed to. Some things that can cause poor bone healing are high cortisol levels, gluten sensitivity (with or without intestinal damage), immunosuppressants, micro-movement of the bone fragments (which is why internal fixation is so helpful), diabetes, infection, and smoking. According to my doctor, having low bone density (as I do) DOES NOT keep a bone from healing, though it probably contributed to the fracture in the first place.
    celtzcastle 16 Replies
    • September 1, 2007
    • 07:08 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I broke my arm in half and in after falling 25ft off of a snowboarding jump in the park. I had a plate put in my arm with 12 screws. I worked very hard and I have full range of motion. Something my doc said I would never have. Well he clear me to use my arm and I was playing tennis and ended up breaking my screws and finding out that I had a non-union fracture 7 months later. My doc said he was sorry but he cleared me too soon. I am a very healthy 22y old girl. I don't smoke or drink. I am on the smaller side at only 5'3 107lbs, and I love sports. They gave me a bone stimulator but I didn't see a difference after 2 months of using it. I looked all over the web and learned about using a bone marrow injection to heal non-union fractures. I took the info to my doc and he said that he didn't know much about it but he would give it a try. Less then a week later they put me out and took a small amount of bone marrow from my hip bone using a large needle and I think the drilled a small hole first. Then injected it in my arm.When I woke up it was not very painful and the scar on my hip is the size of a little pen mark. 2 weeks later I had a x-ray and it was like magic. My fracture had healed so much. Within 6 weeks after having the injection my arm was 100% healed. I have Kasier and they cover the costs of the injection. I am so thankful to have my arm back.:) I hope this helps you.
    Sarahm151 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • I had forgotten that I had written on this forum!!OK, so they found out later on that I had L-carnitine deficiency. L-carnitine is a fatty acid transport protein; it allows fat to pass into the mitochondria of cells so that it can be burned for energy. Since the primary source of energy for bones is fat (unlike the brain and muscles, which mainly use carbs), L-carnitine deficiency leads not only to osteopenia or osteoporosis, but also poor bone healing.L-carnitine deficiency is rare in young people. I was tested for it because the rheumatology clinic I went to has a lot of really old patients. L-carnitine is also a very powerful antioxidant, so deficiency is now believed to be a cause of dementia.I was put on six tablets (330 mg each) of L-carnitine (Levocarnitine) daily, and 8 months later, a rheumatologist at a different clinic tested my bone density and said that the improvement was "almost miraculous."
    celtzcastle 16 Replies Flag this Response
  • One more thing, to the original poster:after 16 months, the ends of your bones will have sealed over. Surgery will be required to make it heal; the ends will have to be shaved so they are raw again, and then a graft might be needed. A graft is nice because they can just use the bone goop that they get while they are drilling the holes for the plate; that's what they did for me. I think this is similar to a bone marrow injection from the hip (there is bone marrow in all bones), but it is less invasive--they simply scoop the "bone paste" off the drill bit, spread it over the raw bone ends, and then clamp the bone together with a plate.
    celtzcastle 16 Replies Flag this Response
  • I fell approx 15 feet, landed on my head and shoulder, was knocked out, and lost control of bodily functions. I suffered with a shattered left collarbone,(comminuted fracture), laceration of scalp, and had a lot of soft tissue damage. This happened 16 months ago, and I still have a non-union fracture. The drs wanted to wait to see if it would heal on it's own due to the fact that the main artery that supplies the rest of your body with blood is right at the fracture sight. It was too risky. I have since been on a bone stimulator, had to have arthroscopic surgery for adhesive capsulitis,(frozen shoulder), and have constant pain in my neck. My head was twisted in a weird way when I fell. The x-ray showed deteriation of end plates. My vertebrae are pushed to the left, out of place so bad that you can see and feel it. My therapist said something about my para-spinals. I have headaches in the back of my head almost everyday, and my left shoulder blade sticks out pretty far. It feels like bugs are crawling under the scapula. I have lost my upper body strength, and still have not regained full range of motion in my shoulder. My tendons are still swollen in the front and back of my neck. i never had any neck problems prior to the accident, and requested an MRI. Instead they gave me an MRI of the shoulder. The technician told me right out that I'll probably be back for another MRI of my neck. I couldn't at that time lift my head off of the bed without using my good hand and arm to support it. That was eight months after the accident. My symptoms have improved alot, but it's still a non-union... no more bone stimulator, I do my therapy at home now, took lots of calcium, still have headaches, sometimes blurred vision, speech problems ( stuttering and saying words that don't exist), better range of motion, but still can't raise my arm up very far to the side, and can recch for the stars but can't quite get all of the way there. The dr then stated he would go ahead and put the plate and screws in if I wanted him to. I can live with the range of motion I have. At least I can still have use of my arm. I told him we would have to stop meeting like this, and asked him to discharge me after 14 months. He is a wonderful dr., and helped me so much more than the original dr I had been seeing for the first six months. He also said my scapular stabilizers were gone, and gave me exercizes to strenghthen them. He said I may never get them back completely since they are gone so long. I sound like a chronic complainer, but this has been a life altering experience. I used to work for a nursing agency, and can't go back until I am fully recovered. I don't want to hurt or drop anyone. My questions? Is there a possibility that the bone will fuse after 16 months? What are the end plates in your neck? My vertebrae are still curved to the left side. I hurt the parietal lobe in my brain when I fell, and had staples. They said i had a slight concussion. Why can't I talk right? It's embarrassing. It usually happens when I get excited or am tired. Do you think my headaches and visual changes are from the neck? I am a 45 year old female, smoked, quit, started up again. Otherwise in good health. I am thin and small framed, but what are some of the under-lying causes of non-union fractures? Help!!!!!!!!!! Smoking is one of the causes for non-union. Check out the b12 thread becasue active b12 plus cofactors can help bone growth and healing in general. Rewad http://forums.wrongdiagnosis.com/showthread.php?t=62327 and come to http://forums.wrongdiagnosis.com/showthread.php?t=9948&page=328 to discuss.
    Freddd 3576 Replies Flag this Response
  • I fell approx 15 feet, landed on my head and shoulder, was knocked out, and lost control of bodily functions. I suffered with a shattered left collarbone,(comminuted fracture), laceration of scalp, and had a lot of soft tissue damage. This happened 16 months ago, and I still have a non-union fracture. The drs wanted to wait to see if it would heal on it's own due to the fact that the main artery that supplies the rest of your body with blood is right at the fracture sight. It was too risky. I have since been on a bone stimulator, had to have arthroscopic surgery for adhesive capsulitis,(frozen shoulder), and have constant pain in my neck. My head was twisted in a weird way when I fell. The x-ray showed deteriation of end plates. My vertebrae are pushed to the left, out of place so bad that you can see and feel it. My therapist said something about my para-spinals. I have headaches in the back of my head almost everyday, and my left shoulder blade sticks out pretty far. It feels like bugs are crawling under the scapula. I have lost my upper body strength, and still have not regained full range of motion in my shoulder. My tendons are still swollen in the front and back of my neck. i never had any neck problems prior to the accident, and requested an MRI. Instead they gave me an MRI of the shoulder. The technician told me right out that I'll probably be back for another MRI of my neck. I couldn't at that time lift my head off of the bed without using my good hand and arm to support it. That was eight months after the accident. My symptoms have improved alot, but it's still a non-union... no more bone stimulator, I do my therapy at home now, took lots of calcium, still have headaches, sometimes blurred vision, speech problems ( stuttering and saying words that don't exist), better range of motion, but still can't raise my arm up very far to the side, and can recch for the stars but can't quite get all of the way there. The dr then stated he would go ahead and put the plate and screws in if I wanted him to. I can live with the range of motion I have. At least I can still have use of my arm. I told him we would have to stop meeting like this, and asked him to discharge me after 14 months. He is a wonderful dr., and helped me so much more than the original dr I had been seeing for the first six months. He also said my scapular stabilizers were gone, and gave me exercizes to strenghthen them. He said I may never get them back completely since they are gone so long. I sound like a chronic complainer, but this has been a life altering experience. I used to work for a nursing agency, and can't go back until I am fully recovered. I don't want to hurt or drop anyone. My questions? Is there a possibility that the bone will fuse after 16 months? What are the end plates in your neck? My vertebrae are still curved to the left side. I hurt the parietal lobe in my brain when I fell, and had staples. They said i had a slight concussion. Why can't I talk right? It's embarrassing. It usually happens when I get excited or am tired. Do you think my headaches and visual changes are from the neck? I am a 45 year old female, smoked, quit, started up again. Otherwise in good health. I am thin and small framed, but what are some of the under-lying causes of non-union fractures? Help!!!!!!!!!!Lot of churches have healing services try going there ultimately no probmlem is bigger than our god.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I broke my arm in half and in after falling 25ft off of a snowboarding jump in the park. I had a plate put in my arm with 12 screws. I worked very hard and I have full range of motion. Something my doc said I would never have. Well he clear me to use my arm and I was playing tennis and ended up breaking my screws and finding out that I had a non-union fracture 7 months later. My doc said he was sorry but he cleared me too soon. I am a very healthy 22y old girl. I don't smoke or drink. I am on the smaller side at only 5'3 107lbs, and I love sports. They gave me a bone stimulator but I didn't see a difference after 2 months of using it. I looked all over the web and learned about using a bone marrow injection to heal non-union fractures. I took the info to my doc and he said that he didn't know much about it but he would give it a try. Less then a week later they put me out and took a small amount of bone marrow from my hip bone using a large needle and I think the drilled a small hole first. Then injected it in my arm.When I woke up it was not very painful and the scar on my hip is the size of a little pen mark. 2 weeks later I had a x-ray and it was like magic. My fracture had healed so much. Within 6 weeks after having the injection my arm was 100% healed. I have Kasier and they cover the costs of the injection. I am so thankful to have my arm back.:) I hope this helps you.Wow! Thanks for this information. My Ulna has a spiral fracture that is a non-union and it still has not healed after the incident that broke it (11/13/2009). I will talk to my Dr about having this proceedure next year when I am able to get health insurance again! I cannot take a lot of time off to wait for my arm to heal from a regular surgery. This sounds ideal for me. Thank you 300X!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • September 9, 2010
    • 06:01 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Short answer: fracture has lost all ability to heal. This will require plating and bone grafting. BTW: I insist all patients who are having nonunion surgery stop smoking before surgery and until the fracture has healed. Also avoid all NSAIDs.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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