A fracture nonunion is the incomplete healing of a fracture where the sides of the bone fragments
do not reconnect. Nonunions commonly present with persistent pain, swelling, or instability beyond the time when healing should normally have occurred. In most cases, symptomatic nonunions are treated with surgery.
Although not very common, failure of bone fracture healing resulting in a nonunion occurs in 5% to 10% of patients. According to studies, the highest nonunion rates occur in the tibia or fibula (14%) and femur (13.9%).
There are 4 types of a Bone Nonunion:
This patient had a fracture nonunion in the left humerus (upper arm) bone, shown on the left. It was repaired by the Limb Restoration Program using a bone graft from the patient’s fibula.
This is an example of a torsional (rotated) malunion in a patient’s femur, shown on the left. It was corrected using an osteotomy (a cut into the bone) that allowed the bone to rotate to a normal position, as shown on the right.
There are two categories of risk factors: non-modifiable (things we can’t change) and modifiable (things we can change).
Non-modifiable risk factors for bone or fracture nonunions and malunions include:
Modifiable Risk Factors for Bone or Fracture Nonunions and Malunions Include:
This patient was originally treated for hip dysplasia, shown on the left, but the original surgery resulted in a nonunion. Their nonunion was corrected by the Limb Restoration Program, shown on the right.
Although we can’t cure medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid issues, or osteoporosis, there is a lot that can be done to improve your chances of healing a fracture. Fracture nonunions and malunions are often treated with reconstructive surgery, but there are several steps we take to ensure you are in the best possible position to heal safely:
This patient had a fracture nonunion repaired in their humerus (arm bone), shown on the left. The nonunion was repaired by the Limb Restoration Program using a bone graft and fixation with pins, shown on the right.
If you are experiencing a malunion, nonunion, or another condition that is affecting your limbs or has caused you limb loss, please contact our clinic to discuss your health.