Avera Medical Minute AMcK: Improving wrist fracture management - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute AMcK: Improving wrist fracture management

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It's never fun rehabbing from broken bones, with the bulky cast and just the immobilization of the injury. Wrist fractures are some of the most common injuries, but doctors at Core Orthopedics are breaking from the casting tradition.  

It was just another day of work for Jenny Eichmann, one that took a quick painful turn.

"I wasn't paying attention to my surroundings and I took a couple steps backwards and I lost my balance tripping over something and I kind of fell off to the side and tried to use my left hand as a brace." Said Eichmann.

Jenny's wrist was broken. That meant a trip to Dr. Scott McPherson at Core Orthopedics who told jenny she needed surgery.  

"It's called the fixed angle volar plate meaning it's on the palm side of your wrist but it shows that there's a quicker return to functional activities." Said Dr. McPherson.

During surgery a plate is fused to the wrist bones which hold pins into place, giving the bones a strong support system while they heal.

"Before we had the locking plates those screws would go in and then they would just toggle and you would still lose the position but with these locking technologies it's really revolutionized taking care of the distal radius fractures." Said Dr. McPherson.

The new surgical hardware is just the beginning, as Dr. McPherson's technique is not only offers faster healing but it's much less restricting.  
Less than a week after surgery, patients come back and get a brace not a cast.

"Having this brace has been a great advantage." Said Eichmann.

Jenny was worried a cast would limit her ability to do the simple tasks of work and being a mother. A worry that has since been relieved.  

"I am the bionic mom now! So the brace is pretty cool and has caught a lot of attention! I've had a lot of people ask me about it because like I said sometimes when I'm resting I do have the brace off and when I go to put it on, it clicks and you start turning the dial and it catches a lot of attention and people ask questions about it." Said Eichmann.

There is nothing wrong with casting, but every patient is different and can react differently.

"And casts sometimes are too tight and then you get some patients who get a lot of nerve pain or what we call reflex sympathetic dystrophy when you get kind of set up for chronic pain problems because they get swollen and all those nerves aren't getting any kind of relief." Said Dr. McPherson.

Traditional casts can also itch and become very uncomfortable. With the exo-splint brace all patients need to do is throw it in the microwave and they can re-mold it to their arm for a better fit; and if it's smelly? It's also machine washable.

Jenny's wrist has responded very well to the surgery. While the metal plate is a permanent addition to her bone structure, she's more than ready to ditch the brace.  

"I don't ever want to do this again, but it's been a great experience all the doctors and all the care that I've had regarding his injury has been fantastic and I feel like I'm in really good hands." Said Eichmann.

The plates in Jenny's arm are made of titanium so there is no reason to worry about microwaves or the security line at the airport. For more information about wrist fracture surgery options just call 877-AT-AVERA.


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