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Comminuted Fractures: Recovering After a Car Accident

Broken bones are one of the most common injuries caused by car accidents.

While bone fractures are common, they may cause intense pain, swelling, bleeding, and decreased mobility. These injuries may leave you unable to carry out day-to-day activities and significantly impact your quality of life during recovery.

Comminuted fractures are a type of broken bone, characterized by multiple fractures to one bone. Almost always, they are caused by a serious trauma, such as a car accident.

A black and white x-ray showing a comminuted bone fracture.

In many cases, comminuted fractures require surgery and time off from work and/or school to recover.

An experienced attorney may help you attain the appropriate compensation to make up for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

If you have suffered a traumatic injury as a result of a car accident, contact Gary Martin Hays and Associates today for a free consultation with an attorney.

What is a comminuted fracture?

A comminuted fracture is a type of broken bone, indicating at least three breaks on the same bone. They may occur on any bone, but are most common in longer bones, such as the femur, tibia, fibula, humerus, and ribs.

What causes a comminuted fracture? What are the symptoms?

Individuals with osteoporosis are at greater risk of comminuted fractures, but they are almost always caused by a severe trauma, such as a car accident, a fall from a great height, or sports injuries.

The symptoms of a comminuted fracture are similar to those of other types of fractures, and will also likely depend on the trauma endured. Common symptoms include:

  • Severe pain
  • Limited mobility of the affected area.
  • Swelling
  • The affected body part is bent at an unnatural angle
  • The bone is visible through the skin

Comminuted fractures are categorized as open or closed. If the fractured bone breaks through skin, it is an open fracture.

How is a comminuted fracture diagnosed?

Comminuted fractures must be diagnosed by a healthcare professional through a physical exam and imaging tests. To get a clear understanding of the injury, they may use:


X-ray is a form of radiation that utilizes electromagnetic waves to depict images of the inside of your body. They are helpful in diagnosing various fractures and injuries to the bone.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRIs use a magnetic field and radio waves to create images of various organs and tissues.

CT Scan

CT scans use X-ray techniques and images to create cross-sectional images inside the body. These images are generally more detailed than X-rays.

If you believe you may have a broken bone or comminuted fracture, it is important to see a doctor. Attaining medical help early on may prevent healing complications.

How is a comminuted fracture treated?

Treatment for comminuted fractures varies by case. However, they are usually severe injuries, and frequently require surgery to repair the bone.

During the surgery, your surgeon will realign, or “set” your bone fragments and secure them to promote healing. They may insert plates and screws or pins and wires to hold the bone together, depending on the injury. This is called internal fixation. They also may perform a bone graft, where they insert a new piece of bone where the fracture occurred.

To ensure the bone heals properly after surgery, the affected bone will likely be wrapped in a cast to prevent movement. Your provider may also deem it necessary to prescribe medications, as well.

Treatment may be costly and strenuous. If you have suffered a traumatic injury as a result of a car accident, it may benefit you to hire an experienced attorney.

What does recovery look like? Are there possible complications?

Comminuted fractures have a longer, more complicated recovery than many other types of fractures.

Recovery may range from 12 weeks to over a year, depending on the fracture and other injuries related to the trauma. Following the surgery, physical therapy will be required to regain functionality and strengthen the surrounding muscles.

While the time frame varies case by case, serious traumas often require time off work or school for recovery, especially post-operation. Comminuted fractures are no different. Following your provider's instructions for recovery is key to limiting recovery time and risk of complications.

Complications from comminuted fractures are uncommon, but align with those associated with any surgical procedure. For example, adverse reactions to anesthesia are possible. Additionally, bone fragments may shift, causing the bone to heal in the wrong position.

If one or more ribs are impacted by a comminuted fracture, there is a risk of pneumothorax (collapsed lung) if a bone fragment migrates towards the lungs.

With open fractures, or fractures where the bone breaks skin, there is an increased risk of infection and scarring.

If you suffered an injury due to a car accident, work accident, or other incident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact our Georgia personal injury law firm today at (770) 934-8000. Consultations are free and confidential.

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