Did you know that 6 million people break a bone every year in the United States? You can break any bone, but the most common fractures occur in the:
But no matter which bone you break, it requires proper stabilization and support for optimal healing. Without this stabilization, you can experience a range of complications, from bones that don’t heal properly — or at all — to stiffness, pain, or loss of function.
As a gifted orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Jared Tadje specializes in trauma care and fracture treatment at Tadje Orthopaedics in Meridian, Idaho. If you break a bone, here’s how a rod can help.
Fracture care basics
Fracture treatments vary depending on the severity and location of the break. Still, they all share the same overall strategy: restoring proper alignment to the bone so it can heal properly.
In the past, that meant stabilizing the outside of the area with splints or casts. But the emergence of sterile surgical procedures gave doctors a new approach — internal fixation.
With internal fixation, Dr. Tadje uses surgical implants to set and stabilize a broken bone inside your body. This approach often provides better healing, shortens hospital stays, and restores function faster.
But fractures can require different forms of internal fixation, such as:
- Wires or pins
- Intramedullary (IM) rods or nails
We use plates, screws, or pins to restore alignment by attaching them to the outside of the broken bone. On the other hand, we insert a rod into the center of the bone to hold the break together.
How rods work
Rods aren’t right for every type of fracture. Instead, they’re most helpful for those involving long bones in your lower body, like the thigh or shin. In these cases, Dr. Tadje inserts a titanium rod into the hollow center of the bone.
Rods come in various widths and lengths to fit people of all heights and ages. They even come in telescoping options for children, so they continue to lengthen and support growing bones.
Once he inserts an IM rod, Dr. Tadje screws it in place at the top and bottom of the bone to ensure a secure fit. In most cases, rods stay inside your bone permanently, even once you’ve healed.
The benefits of rods
IM rods don’t make fractures heal faster, but they offer numerous benefits that begin immediately.
Two significant advantages of rods include the increased stability and more precise alignment of long bones during the healing process. Rods can even help prevent fractures in damaged or diseased bones.
But there’s another benefit that people recovering from broken bones often love most — added strength to the bone.
Since an IM rod is made from titanium, a material as strong as steel, it can help your bone support your body weight. As a result, rods often allow people to bear weight on bones before the fractures have fully healed.
Rods may not be an option for every break, but they can help immediately when used in broken long bones. That’s why it’s essential to find expert care the minute you sustain a fracture.
Did you or someone you love break a bone? Schedule a consultation at Tadje Orthopaedics to explore your treatment options by calling 208-515-2654 today.