How a broken arm or wristis treated

A broken arm or wrist is usually treated in a hospital accident and emergency department . The treatment differs depending on the severity of the injury.

A doctor will give you or your child painkillers and fix a splint to the arm to secure it in position and prevent further damage.AnX-ray of the arm will then be taken to see what kind of fracture it is. Even hairline fractures showfaintly on X-ray.

A simple fracture, where the bone remains aligned, can be treated byapplying a plaster cast.This holds the broken ends togetherso they canheal. You'll be given painkillers to take home and be told how to look after your cast. An appointment will be made to attend a fracture clinic so specialist orthopaedic doctors can take over the care of your fracture.

With more severe arm or wrist fractures, the bones can become misaligned (displaced). If the bone isn't realigned (reduced), the bones won't heal well. Doctors use a technique called "closed reduction" to pull the bones back into position.

Local or regional anaesthetic will be used to numb the arm (this is rarely used in children), or you'll be putto sleepusing a general anaesthetic . If doctors are happy with the bones' new position, a plaster cast will be applied and you'll have regular follow-up appointments and X-rays.

Certain fractures are best treated with surgery to realign and fix the broken bones. This includes displaced fractures, fractures involving a joint, and open fractures. Surgeons can fix bones with wires, plates, screws or rods. This is called open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). Any metalwork isn't usually removed unless it becomes a problem.

In rare cases, an external frame, known as an external fixator,is used to hold the broken bones in place.

After most types ofsurgery, a plaster cast is applied to protect the repair. A sling may also be provided for comfort. You'll usually be able to go home within a day or two of having surgery.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018