3D imaging helps forearm fractures

Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 8:12 AM EST
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Forearm fractures account for more than 40 percent of all childhood fractures. A child’s bone is expected to heal more quickly and better than adult bones. But when one girl’s injury healed, it actually caused more problems. Details on the surgical technique that saved her forearm.

Bridget Murphy is a very active sixteen-year-old. But four years ago, a trampoline accident gave her the scare of her life.

“I fell the wrong way and broke both bones in my arm,” shared Bridget.

“My husband and I, we heard the scream. I’ve never seen a broken bone like that. Her forearm truly went zigzag,” recalled Bridget’s mom, Colleen Murphy.

Bridget’s parents rushed her to the emergency room and doctors put her arm in a cast.

“They felt that because of her age, it would heal correctly,” explained Colleen.

“But it didn’t get that much better and I was kind of disappointed,” expressed Bridget.

Throughout the years, Bridget’s forearm bowed as it healed, causing a deformity not allowing her to get full range of motion in her wrist.

“I was in pain writing and typing and driving,” shared Bridget.

Four years ago, when Bridget broke her forearm, the Murphy’s wanted to avoid surgery. But now surgeon Xavier Simcock showed them through a 3D model how surgery can fix the deformity.

“I offered her to get a CAT scan and create a 3D model so that I could plan the surgery for her to hopefully improve her motion,” elaborated Xavier Simcock, MD, hand and upper extremity surgeon at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush.

The surgery worked on the 3D model and then on Bridget’s arm!

“And we’re much faster because we know exactly where we’re going to put the bone, we’ve done all the hard work beforehand,” described Dr. Simcock.

After surgery, Bridget had to do occupational therapy.

“Here we are two months later, and she achieved a normal range of motion in her wrist,” shared Colleen.

“My arm isn’t impacting my life anymore,” Bridget exclaimed.

Making surgery, hands down, the best decision they could have ever made.

Forearm fractures are the second leading cause of fractures in children, second to broken collarbones. In adults, arm fractures account for nearly half of all broken bones.

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