Child Orthopedics


Frequently Asked Questions

Our 13-year old son had a bad break in his thigh bone. After surgery and a rehab program, he's back to his old tricks. The surgeon still wants to take another X-ray but we're against it. We'd like to avoid any more exposure to radiation. Is there any real reason to get another X-ray?

Follow-up after an unstable femoral (thigh bone) fracture is very important. There is a risk of silent complications. The patient doesn't have any signs or symptoms of a problem until it progresses too far. In children, there can be injury to the growth plate. In all patients, there is always a concern about infection.

Your worry about exposure to radiation is understandable. It doesn't hurt to discuss your hesitation with the surgeon. X-rays are a very useful tool in cases like this. They show alignment of the bone. Any shortening across the fracture site can be seen and measured. The X-rays can also be used to look for any growth disturbance or infection.

Experts suggest it is very wise to follow up these patients for at least two years after the injury.

Karl E. Rathjen, M.D., et al. Stainless Steel Flexible Intramedullary Fixation of Unstable Femoral Shaft Fractures in Children. In Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. June 2007. Vol. 27. No. 4. Pp. 432-441.

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