The sternum has particular characteristics, it is a long bone that allows the rib cage to unite and completely stabilize the thorax, also protecting the organs within it, such as the heart, lungs, vena cava and aorta.
An injury to the chest may in some way represent a fracture of the sternum, although its incidence is very low, it is possible. Typically, this is due to traffic accidents or heavy trauma. The concern lies in knowing the possible complications that this type of invoice has and in how much time it improves. For this reason, at FastlyHealwe will tell you exactly how long it takes to weld the sternum and, in addition, what are the measures that must be taken into account to avoid the dangers that exist when having a fracture of this type.
Table of Contents
What is the sternum and what is its function?
The rib cage is made up of the vertebrae, the ribs and the sternum, a flat and symmetrical bone with a length approximately 15 centimeters long, which has three important parts the manubrium, the body and the xiphoid appendix, located specifically in the center of the thoracic region that articulates directly with the clavicles and true and false ribs.
The sternum is responsible for stabilizing the chest and, in addition, this bone also protects the vital organs that are inside it, mainly lungs and heart.
Sternum fracture: main symptoms
Any strong impact trauma directly to the chest region can somehow generate the sternal fracture , the important thing is to be able to determine in time that this is a possibility that generates characteristic signs and symptoms. These are the main symptoms of a sternum fracture :
- There may be difficulty and pain in the chest when breathing , which is intensified by making efforts such as coughing, sitting, bending over, sneezing, or laughing.
- Sudden chest pain after the traumatic event to the area.
- Cracking noise in the chest.
- Muscle spasms in the thoracic area.
- Bruising, increased sensitivity, and sometimes there is swelling in the chest.
- Due to the intensity of the impact, it can be seen with the naked eye that there is some bone deformity in the chest, which happens when the fracture is displaced, that is, the bone has broken and one or more parts of the fracture have moved out of place. .
Sternum fracture: causes and risk factors
The fracture in the sternum has risk factors and has a high incidence in:
- Women more than men.
- It is common in rugby players, wrestling, hockey, martial arts, boxing, and weightlifting.
- In adults over 50, regardless of sex.
- Finally, working at high altitudes is an important risk factor due to the risk of falls.
All these can be alarm signals to think that there is a sternum fracture, having previously a traumatic event that triggers it, such as a fall, a direct blunt trauma or car accidents, and although it sounds paradoxical, the use of a seat belt brings with it an increase in the frequency of sternum fractures that represent 10% of admissions to emergency units.
How long does it take to heal the sternum after a fracture?
The time it takes to weld a sternum fracture will depend on the severity of the fracture, at this point it is important to mention that there are two types of sternum fracture, one without displacement where the bone fragments remain in their anatomical position and the second, called a displacement fracture, where, as a result of muscle and bone tension, there may be damage to internal tissues and organs.
Medically it is explained to the patient that this type of fracture needs approximately between 10 and 24 weeks of rest in the case of a non-displaced sternum fracture, avoiding in any way things that could make it worse and, therefore, following these tips:
- Do not put pressure on the area.
- It is also recommended not to practice lifting heavy objects.
- Do not exert any type of action, or work, until the fractured bone is completely welded.
Finally, in case the sternum bill is displaced and surgical intervention is required to fix the bone portions that are fractured, the time to fully weld the sternum can be extended up to up to 30 weeks of recovery .
Recommendations for the recovery of a sternum fracture
From the beginning, when a sternum fracture is diagnosed by a doctor, after having carried out the corresponding assessment and the corresponding examinations, such as chest X-rays, the following will be indicated:
- Apply cold to the region , doing it for 20 minutes and every 2 hours to avoid inflammatory processes and the appearance of bruises.
- In addition to this, it is recommended to slightly immobilize the thoracic area to avoid any complication in relation to the internal thoracic organs that are protected by the external, the correct method to do it is by means of the thoracic bandage, in addition to these it is important to have rest in relation to activities that require strong movements in the chest.
Complications of sternum fracture
If the recovery time, that is, for the sternum fracture to completely weld, is not met to the letter, there are certain complications of the sternum fracture that can be associated with this issue, such as:
- Injury to vital organs such as the heart and lung, in addition to the damage that can occur in the blood vessels, abdominal organs and vertebrae.
- The aortic rupture or a perforated lung is one of the most severe complications that exists when not fulfilling the recovery time so that a sternum fracture heals properly.
- It can also be associated with the possible dangers that exist when having a fracture of the sternum to present cardiac and pulmonary contusion , that is, bruise in the heart and lungs, as well as the presence of hemothorax even fractured ribs .
- The incorrect healing of the sternal fracture can cause bone deformity , compress some blood vessels and generate infectious processes such as osteomyelitis.
Every fracture must be evaluated, diagnosed and treated by a specialist once there is a traumatic event, do not try to self-medicate and always take into account that rest is essential for a fracture of this bone as important as the sternum to heal properly .
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to How long does it take to weld the sternum , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.