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Treating Shoulder Fractures

Treating Shoulder Fractures

When treating a shoulder fracture, the bone must be realigned before the bones start to knit together. Medical professionals therefore need to ensure treatment is not delayed, or a patient may fail to make a full recovery.

The Need for Prompt Treatment

When a shoulder fracture occurs, it will start to heal immediately and will continue to do so for the next two weeks. During that time, the shoulder can be externally manipulated, making it much easier to realign the fracture. It is also much less likely that invasive treatment such as surgery will be required.

This notion of a time limit must be respected by health professionals, who need to ensure the bone is properly realigned without too much of a delay. Otherwise the fracture will fuse together in the wrong position. Any alteration in the anatomical alignment of the bones will prevent a patient from regaining full shoulder function. He/she may be left with a weakness, reduced range of movement or on-going discomfort. Thus to prevent long-term damage, it is important shoulder fractures are treated as quickly as possible.

The course of treatment must also be discussed with the patient. Some may not wish to have surgery, particularly if they are old and frail. In such cases, a more conservative treatment plan can be devised. On the other hand, younger patients may take a different view and be prepared to undergo an operation if necessary.

What if there is a Delay?

Generally speaking, a surgeon has up to three weeks to realign a fracture. Any longer than this and shoulder function could be compromised. This is because if a shoulder fracture is left untreated for two weeks, the bone will start to glue itself back together. From three to six weeks, it is still easily to prize apart, although surgery will probably be necessary.

After six weeks, the fracture will have united to such an extent that the only way to realign the fracture is to re-fracture it. This will obviously cause additional pain to the patient, who must endure an operation and another fracture injury. Even after surgery, a patient may never return to their former state of health, and he/she must live with permanent shoulder damage.

Medical Negligence Claims

If you believe your shoulder fracture was not treated within an appropriate amount of time, you need to contact a medical negligence solicitor for advice. That is because you may have been the victim of a substandard level of care, meaning the treatment you received for your shoulder fracture fell below what is considered acceptable.

A solicitor will be able to assess the details of your case before suggesting what options are available to you. If this includes making a medical negligence claim, you could be awarded compensation for pain, suffering and financial loss you have experienced because of your negligent treatment.

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