Pediatric trauma is a subset of orthopedic trauma that deals with the unique problems seen in the bones, joints, and soft tissues of infants, children, or adolescents following trauma or injury. The main goal of this specialized area of orthopedics is to treat fractured bones and restore the alignment of the joints, with special attention to the growth areas of the bone.
When a child fractures a bone or suffers a musculoskeletal injury, it requires specialized treatment. The rate of healing in children is different than in adults; because of the increased growth and remodeling potential of children, many pediatric injuries are treatable without surgery. However, pediatric trauma injuries still need special attention to prevent growth deformities.
Common pediatric trauma injuries and disorders include:
A growth plate is an area of growing tissue near the ends of the long bones in children and adolescents. Each long bone has at least two growth plates, one at each end of the bone. The growth plates determine the length and shape of the mature bone. When growth is complete — at some point during an adolescent’s teen years — the growth plates close and solid bone forms.
Because growth plates are the weakest areas of a child’s growing skeleton, they’re vulnerable to fractures. Growth plate fractures happen twice as often in boys as they do in girls because girls’ bodies mature at an earlier age than boys'.
To treat fractures in children, your orthopedic surgeon may use manipulation: using their hands to put bones or joints back in place. Other times, surgery is needed to fix the break and hold the growth plate in place with either screws or wire. After the procedure, the bone is set in place and immobilized with a cast or splint. Range-of-motion exercises may be recommended after the fracture has healed.
The need for manipulation or surgery depends on the location and extent of the injury, as well as the child’s age.
If your infant, child, or adolescent has experienced a traumatic injury, contact Greater Austin Orthopaedics where the orthopedic surgeons provide compassionate and professional pediatric care. To schedule an appointment, call us today or book online.