Treatment of pediatric fracture begins with diagnostic procedures

The doctor makes the diagnosis with physical examination and diagnostic tests. During the examination, the doctor obtains a complete medical history of the child and asks how the injury occurred.

Diagnostic procedures may include:

  • X-rays – A diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radio frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. This test is done to rule out any associated abnormalities of the spinal cord and nerves.
  • Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) – A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.

Combined treatments and considerations for pediatric fractures

Specific treatment for a fracture will be determined by your child's doctor based on:

  • Your child's age, overall health, and medical history
  • Extent of the fracture
  • Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the fracture
  • Your opinion or preference

The goal of treatment is to control the pain, promote healing, prevent complications, and restore normal use of the fractured area. Treatment may include:

  • Splint or cast – This immobilizes the injured area to promote bone alignment and healing to protect the injured area from motion or use.
  • Medication (for pain control)
  • Traction – Traction is the application of force to stretch certain parts of the body in a specific direction. Traction consists or pulleys, strings, weights, and a metal frame attached over or on the bed. The purpose of traction is to stretch the muscles and tendons around the broken bone to allow the bone ends to align and heal.
  • Surgery – This may be required to put certain types of broken bones back into place. Occasionally, internal fixation (metal rods or pins located inside the bone) or external fixation devices (metal rods or pins located outside of the body) are used to hold the bone fragments in place to allow alignment and healing.

An open fracture (one in which the bone exits and is visible through the skin, or where a deep wound exposes the bone through the skin) is considered an emergency. Seek immediate medical attention for this type of fracture by calling 911.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.