Broken bones impact an estimated six million people in the U.S. every year. Most of these people have a successful treatment, whether they wear a cast for a few weeks or undergo surgery to repair their fractured bones. Bones are designed to repair and reconnect by fusing together with new bone cells, but this does not always occur. In a small percentage of broken bones, a non-union fracture occurs.
What Is a Non-Union Fracture?
When you receive treatment for a broken bone, the goal is to realign the bone fragments and hold them in place when the new bone material fuses them. This can be accomplished with braces, casts, and surgical hardware like screws and plates. A non-union fracture occurs when the bone does not fuse back together after months of healing. This complication only occurs in less than 10% of bone fractures. Some of the possible causes can include:
- Complex fracture
- Insufficient blood supply to the bone
- Poorly stabilized bone
- Separation of the bone fragments
A broken bone is considered non-union when no sign of significant healing occurs within about six months after the injury. Signs of a non-union fracture can include pain, deformity, swelling, and instability near the fracture area. You may be unable to put weight on the limb, and the bone may be tender to the touch. A non-union fracture can require surgery or other treatments, like stem cell therapy, to help the bone heal and repair.
Risk Factors for Non-Union Fractures
There are some people that are at higher risk for non-union bone fractures. If your body is compromised due to health or lifestyle factors, your bones may heal slowly. Those with high-risk factors may need additional treatments, such as stem cell therapy, to encourage faster bone fusing. People with a higher risk of a non-union fracture include:
- Individuals who smoke
- Those with hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Those with nutritional deficiencies
Anyone with a higher risk of poor recovery from a broken bone may want to consider proactive treatments and lifestyle changes to encourage faster bone healing. This can include stopping smoking and controlling health factors contributing to poor blood supply to the bones. Taking nutritional supplements that help with bone repair, like calcium, vitamin D3, and vitamin C, may be recommended. Some people may need stem cell therapy to supply the bone with the needed blank cells and growth factors to stimulate healing.
Stem Cell Therapy for Non-Union Fractures
If you have a non-union bone fracture, stem cell therapy can offer a minimally-invasive option for faster healing. To learn more about stem cell injections to stimulate bone fusion, contact our team at the office of Steven Struhl, MD – Stem Cell Therapy NYC. Call our Westchester or New York City clinic to schedule a stem cell therapy consultation with Dr. Struhl.