There are various categories of skeletal fractures :

Closed (or simple) fractures: The skin remains intact, and the surrounding tissue, nerves, arteries, are unharmed. It may be difficult to treat, as you need to see a specialist who can make sure the bone didn't cause internal injury. Heals the fastest and with least aftereffects.

Open or compound fractures: The bone protrudes from the skin through an open cut. There is a risk of infection, and takes longer to heal.

Complicated Fractures: Major surrounding areas and tissues are damaged near the break, such as nerves, arteries and veins, and organs, such as Pneumothorax. Happens frequently in car accidents and high velocity force. Delayed healing or 'union' of the break, or sometimes permanent nonunion.

A fracture is a medical term for a broken bone. There are twelve distinct types of fractures:

  • Comminuted: This type of fracture has three or more bone fragments at the site of the injury (i.e. the bone has been broken in two or more places). This usually requires surgical attention involving the use of plates and/or screws.
  • Depressed: Occurs mostly on the flat type of bones commonly found in the human skull. As a result, this type of fracture is often associated with head injuries.
  • Greenstick: A greenstick fracture occurs when the bone does not separate entirely, and is still attached by a small bone fragment.
  • Impacted: Occuring along the axis of a bone, this usually results from a fall of some sort. Often one part of the bone will telescope onto the other.
  • Longitudinal: A longitudinal fracture occurs when the bone splits along its length, usually caused by jumping, or a similar activity where the forceexerted on the bone is going in a downward direction.
  • Oblique: Caused by a twisting motion, an oblique fracture results in a curved separation.
  • Spiral: Gives the appearance of a spiral, "S" shaped separation. Similar to an oblique fracture.
  • Serrated: Caused by a direct blow to the bone, the break will have a jagged appearance. Often, these saw-toothed edges can cause damage to neighbouring vessels and nerves.
  • Transverse: Occurs in a straight line. The opposite of a serrated fracture.
  • Contrecoup: These fractures occur on the opposite side of the site on which the trauma was sustained. These are commonly seen with the skull and the mandible.
  • Stress: These fractures occur spontaneously where there's a weakness in the bone, or as a result of the bone being put under excessive stress. Common in atheletes and overweight people.

Frac"ture (?; 135), n. [L. fractura, fr. frangere, fractum, to break: cf. F. fracture. See Fraction.]


The act of breaking or snapping asunder; rupture; breach.

2. Surg.

The breaking of a bone.

3. Min.

The texture of a freshly broken surface; as, a compact fracture; an even, hackly, or conchoidal fracture.

Comminuted fracture Surg., a fracture in which the bone is broken into several parts. -- Complicated fracture Surg., a fracture of the bone combined with the lesion of some artery, nervous trunk, or joint. -- Compound fracture Surg., a fracture in which there is an open wound from the surface down to the fracture. -- Simple fracture Surg., a fracture in which the bone only is ruptured. It does not communicate with the surface by an open wound.

Syn. -- Fracture, Rupture. These words denote different kinds of breaking, according to the objects to which they are applied. Fracture is applied to hard substances; as, the fracture of a bone. Rupture is oftener applied to soft substances; as, the rupture of a blood vessel. It is also used figuratively. "To be an enemy and once to have been a friend, does it not embitter the rupture?"



© Webster 1913.

Frac"ture (?; 135), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Fractured (#; 135); p. pr. & vb. n.. Fracturing.] [Cf. F. fracturer.]

To cause a fracture or fractures in; to break; to burst asunder; to crack; to separate the continuous parts of; as, to fracture a bone; to fracture the skull.


© Webster 1913.

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