Last week I fell and hurt my right wrist. I sought treatment and the doctor took xrays of my scaphoid. Xrays showed nothing but due to pain,symptoms he put me in a splint/half cast. I headed back earlier this week and more xrays taken. Xrays showed a hairline (crack?) of the scaphoid. I'm not exactly sure but I think it was the outer side/edge of the bone (thumb side?). I go back in three weeks for a follow up and now wearing a full cast. Someone told me that a hairline fracture of the scaphoid is more serious compared to a hairline of other bones in the body. Is this true? And what is the general recovery time for a hairline fracture of this bone? Will I be in cast for longer than three weeks? Thank you for your help!
Fractures of the scaphoid, a small bone in the wrist, are often both difficult to detect, and difficult to treat. Nondisplaced or " hairline" fractures are frequently not seen on the initial x-rays. However, if a scaphoid fracture is suspected on clinincal grounds, the patient's wrist and thumb are immobilized in a cast, splint, or brace to prevent further displacement. The patient is reevaluated in 2-3 weeks and repeat x-rays are taken. If the fils are still inconclusive, MRI or bone scan are definitive.
The best results from cast treatment are in those patients who have a fracture that is incomplete or does not extend all the way across the bone. "Nondisplaced" fractures treated in a cast within 28 days after the injury have a good chance of healing. The average time for a fracture of the waist of the scaphoid of a bone that is not displaced to heal in a cast is three months. Due to the unusual blood supply of the scaphoid, even some nondisplaced fractures may take six months or more to heal in a cast.
Fractures that are complete, particularly if they are displaced to any degree, take a much longer time in a cast to heal and may not heal at all if they are treated with a cast alone.
A careful discussion with your orthopedic surgeon may result in a decision to operate and to align an stabilize the bone with a special screw. These patients usually are allowed out of a cast within three weeks to begin flexibility exercises, but full use in sports is not allowed until motion and strength are restored and the x-ray shows that the bone has healed (usually 8 to 12 weeks after the operation).
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