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Nonunion Correction Los Angeles


A nonunion will occur when a broken bone does not fully heal. Bones will typically heal themselves and most often bone fractures will heal without any complications. However, when a broken bone fails to heal it is called a "non-union." For bone healing to happen, the bone needs stability and a good blood supply. Non-unions happen when the bone lacks adequate stability and/or blood flow.

Patients with non-unions usually feel pain at the site of the break long after the initial pain of the fracture. This pain may last months, or even years. It may be constant, or it may occur only when the broken arm or leg is used.

To diagnose a non-union, the surgeon uses X-rays, CT and MRI. These devices let the doctor see the broken bone and follow the progress of its healing. Some nonunions can be treated without surgery. The most common non-surgical treatment is a bone stimulator, which delivers ultrasonic or pulsed electromagnetic waves that stimulate healing. Surgery is needed when non-surgical methods fail.

An orthopedic surgeon makes an incision at the nonunion site to transplant bone that will help the bone heal. Bone grafts or bone graft substitutes can provide fresh bone cells and the naturally occurring chemicals the body needs for bone healing.

An external fixator consisting of pins and wires may be used to stabilize a non-union of the leg bone. The surgeon attaches a scaffold-like rigid frame to the outside of the injured arm or leg. The frame is attached to the bone with wires or pins.

External fixation may be used to increase the stability of the fracture site if instability helped cause the non-union. External fixation can treat nonunions in a patient who also has bone loss and/or chronic infection.

If you or someone you love is suffering from non-union, our highly skilled surgeons with special training in application of external fixators can examine and give you the best course of treatment.

The Limb Lengthening Institute of Los Angeles is a premiere surgical group and our experienced doctors are one of the very few surgeons in the Los Angeles area who perform non-union correction with the use of external fixation.

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