Bone Healing Complications

Patients and doctors must take special care to avoid adverse outcomes after an orthopedic trauma. At Henry Ford Health System our orthopedic surgeons are experts in bone healing and work with all patients to prevent bone healing complications. If you do have a complication, our team has deep experience in treating bone infections and other problems with the latest advances.

Complications from fractures or bone trauma

Most bone injuries heal normally. But some patients do experience complications during the healing process. Orthopedists at Henry Ford treat common bone healing complications, including:

  • Bone infections (osteomyelitis). Infections can occur when bacteria enter the body during a trauma. Less commonly, infections can happen during surgery to set a bone.
  • Bone deformities (malunions). Bones that are misaligned can heal in abnormal positions and cause malunions.
  • Delayed union and nonunion fractures. A fracture that takes longer to heal than usual is called a delayed union. A nonunion fracture is one that fails to heal.

Bone complications: what to look for

It’s important to know the warning signs of a bone healing complication so you can alert your doctor. Receiving prompt care is critical to treating complications. Call your doctor if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Chronic pain
  • Drainage from a wound
  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Limping

Treating bone healing complications

Orthopedic specialists at Henry Ford are experts in diagnosing bone healing complications and finding the right treatment. Depending on the issue, your doctor may use the following treatments:

  • Antibiotics: Medications that kill bacteria are commonly used to treat bone infections.
  • Internal or external fixators: Orthopedic surgeons attach bars, rods, plates or screws to stabilize the bone.
  • Bone grafting: Orthopedists can surgically transplant healthy bone to repair and rebuild diseased bones, bone loss or bones that are not healing.

Leaders in patient education for bone healing

A hallmark of orthopedic care at Henry Ford is patient education. We make sure you know what to expect while healing — including signs of complication. When you know what to look for, you can quickly alert your doctor and seek care. This can prevent problems or help us address them before they get worse.

Bone healing begins at Henry Ford

We are here to support you during and after an orthopedic trauma. Visit frequently asked questions  from patients like you and learn how to care for broken bones as you heal.

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