A fracture's appearance on x-rays can be described precisely using 5 terms:  

Type of fracture line Location of fracture line

Location may be the bone's head (sometimes involving the articular surface), neck, or shaft (proximal, middle, or distal third).

  

Angulation Displacement Open or closed

Common types of fracture lines.

Transverse fractures are perpendicular to the long axis of bone. Oblique fractures occur at an angle. Spiral fractures result from a rotatory mechanism; on x-rays, they are differentiated from oblique fractures by a component parallel to the long axis of bone in at least 1 view. Comminuted fractures have > 2 bone fragments. Comminuted fractures include segmental fractures (2 separate breaks in a bone). Avulsion fractures are caused by a tendon dislodging a bone fragment. In impacted fractures, bone fragments are driven into each other, shortening the bone; these fractures may be visible as a focal abnormal density in trabeculae or irregularities in bone cortex. Childhood fractures include torus fractures (buckling of the bone cortex) and greenstick fractures (cracks in only 1 side of the cortex).

displacement. Displacement is the degree to which the fractured ends are out of alignment with each other. Distraction is separation in the longitudinal axis. Distraction. Displacement and angulation may occur in the ventral-dorsal plane. Angulation is the angle of the distal fragment measured from the proximal fragment. or both.Spatial relationship between fracture fragments. or shortening (overriding) may occur. lateral-medial plane. . it is described in millimeters or bone width percentage. angulation.

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