Avera Medical Minute ASM: Knowing your treatment options and choosing what works best for you

By  | 

Knowing all your treatment options for any type of injury is very important for deciding how you as the patient want to heal.

A broken wrist brought Gaye Granville to Avera St. Mary’s emergency room in Pierre.

“I was walking a dog one evening and he took one way and I went the other way, and so I went down. Right away, I knew something wasn’t right,” said Granville.

“Like a lot of people, she took a fall and landed on her outstretched hand and had obvious pain and deformity to her wrist. She figured something was wrong and came to the emergency room,” said Dr. Gon Sanchez, orthopedic surgeon at Avera St. Mary’s.

Dr. Sanchez says a broken wrist is a common injury.

“At that point you have to take into consideration how the fracture looks, what her bone quality and her age, and her handedness is very important, as well. And then I gave her some options and after we talked about what her options were, she really wanted to try to not have surgery, which is very reasonable. A lot of these can be treated without surgery,” said Dr. Sanchez.

“There was some options on the table for me but the least invasive was to try to what they call reduce it or push it into place manually,” said Granville.

Dr. Sanchez set Granville’s bone.

“Orthopedic surgeons call it reductions, so we reduce the fracture. We manipulate the fracture just by hand, align it back up where we like it, put into a splint and then we take X-rays afterwards and make sure it’s good enough in a sense. And good enough is different for everybody. Older people, good enough is different than in a 25-year-old. So in her case, it was good enough and I gave her the options -- we could try to make it perfect and we’d have to make an incision or try to line it up a little bit better under X-ray and put some pins in it or something. There are other options, but she didn’t want to do that and I agreed with her that it was aligned well enough to heal for her and to give her a good outcome down the road,” said Dr. Sanchez.
“Fortunately I did not have to have surgery. I was just able to have it fixed in the emergency room. So I was grateful for that,” said Granville.

“So in a case of somebody that is treated non-operatively, you have to check that fracture a little more frequently just to make sure that it stays where it belongs and in her case it did,” said Dr. Sanchez.

Granville started physical therapy after her cast was removed.

“Everybody is different. A lot of people, after a broken wrist, don’t need therapy. They come out, they don’t hurt much and they’re a little bit stiff and they sort of prefer to do it on their own. And other people are a little stiffer and a little bit weaker and they do benefit quite a bit from physical therapy,” said Dr. Sanchez.

“So I’ve got a lot of road ahead of me but I’m making progress,” said Granville.

“How to treat them is based on what the person wants ultimately and our job is to give them information on how they can be treated. A lot of distal radius fractures, these wrist-type fractures, can be treated without surgery. Again, it just depends on the situation,” said Dr. Sanchez.

For more information, visit avera.org.