Fracture Pain and 3D Printing


CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— Forearm fractures account for more than 40 percent of all childhood fractures. A child’s bone is expected to heal more quickly and better than adult bones. But when one girl’s injury healed, it actually caused more problems. Details on the surgical technique that saved her forearm and got rid of the fracture pain.

Bridget Murphy is a very active sixteen-year-old. But four years ago, a trampoline accident gave her the scare of her life.

“I fell the wrong way and broke both bones in my arm,” shared Bridget.

“My husband and I, we heard the scream. I’ve never seen a broken bone like that. Her forearm truly went zigzag,” recalled Bridget’s mom, Colleen Murphy.

Bridget’s parents rushed her to the emergency room and doctors put her arm in a cast.

“They felt that because of her age, it would heal correctly,” explained Colleen.

“But it didn’t get that much better and I was kind of disappointed,” expressed Bridget.

Throughout the years, Bridget’s forearm bowed as it healed, causing a deformity not allowing her to get full range of motion in her wrist.

“I was in pain writing and typing and driving,” shared Bridget.

Four years ago, when Bridget broke her forearm, the Murphy’s wanted to avoid surgery. But now surgeon Xavier Simcock showed them through a 3D model how surgery can fix the deformity.

“I offered her to get a CAT scan and create a 3D model so that I could plan the surgery for her to hopefully improve her motion,” elaborated Xavier Simcock, MD, hand and upper extremity surgeon at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush.

(Read Full Interview)

The surgery worked on the 3D model and then on Bridget’s arm!

“And we’re much faster because we know exactly where we’re going to put the bone, we’ve done all the hard work beforehand,” described Dr. Simcock.

After surgery, Bridget had to do occupational therapy.

“Here we are two months later, and she achieved a normal range of motion in her wrist,” shared Colleen.

“My arm isn’t impacting my life anymore,” Bridget exclaimed.

Making surgery, hands down, the best decision they could have ever made.

Forearm fractures are the second leading cause of fractures in children, second to broken collarbones. In adults, arm fractures account for nearly half of all broken bones.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Milvionne Chery, Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa,  Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #4813

BACKGROUND: Forearm fractures account for more than 40 percent of all childhood fractures. The forearm is the area of the arm between the wrist and the elbow and is made up of two parts, the radius and ulna. About three out of four forearm fractures start at the wrist and end all the way at the radius. Forearm fractures are common in kids as it is a common result of playing outside and taking a tumble. Children’s bones heal very quickly, so it is important to treat the fracture promptly and effectively to ensure proper growth and prevent future problems. The forearm is made up pf two bones, the ulna side is on the “pinky finger side” and the radius is on the “thumb side.” Growth plates are sections of cartilage near the ends of long bones in children and teenagers. Both the radius and the ulna have growth plates. The long bones don’t grow from the center outward. Instead, growth occurs at each end of the bone around the growth plate. Once a child has fully grown, the growth plates will solidify into bone.


DIAGNOSING: A Torus fracture, also called a buckle fracture, occurs when the topmost layer of bone on one side is compressed causing the other side to bend. A metaphyseal fracture is across the upper or lower portion of the shaft of the bone. a greenstick fracture extends through a portion of the bone causing it to bend on the other side. A Galeazzi fracture affects both bones of the forearm . Usually a displaced fracture in the radius and a dislocation of the ulna at the wrist. A Monteggia fracture also includes both bones, with a fracture at the top of the ulna and the radius dislocated, these are very severe and need urgent care. And a growth plate fracture, also called a “physeal” fracture, occurs at or across the growth plate, in most cases near the wrist.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: Previously, when doctors were planning out surgeries to repair fractures, the only technology they could rely on to interpret what was going on in a complex 3D area, were 2D x-rays. Now, doctors can perform CAT scans and computer imaging to recreate the model exactly as it is. Doctors have taken another step further and are printing out the models and actually recreating what the bones would look like. This allows surgeons, in specific situations, to perform the surgery on the model prior to actually doing the operation, on the patient, in-person. Xavier Simcock, MD, hand and upper extremity surgeon at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush says, “Before there was kind of like a guessing element in terms of making the bone perfect and we’d have to, you know, be a little bit more creative during the time of surgery and that would take longer. These days, what we’ve found with other surgeries is that, you know, we’re much faster because we know exactly where we’re going to put the bone; we’ve done all the hard work beforehand, making sure that it’s perfect.”

(Source: Xavier Simcock, MD, hand and upper extremity surgeon at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush)



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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Xavier Simcock, MD, hand, and upper extremity surgeon

Read the entire Q&A