The breast bone or sternum is situated in front of the chest and makes attachment to the 12 ribs on both sides, creating the thoracic griddle. This thoracic griddle is very crucial since it safeguards internal organs like the lungs and heart from damage.
Additionally, the sternum also offers protection for the thymus, which is an important gland that creates hemopeotic stem cells e.g. precursors of red blood cells. Nonetheless, after early childhood, the thymus becomes dysfunctional.
Direct trauma to the sternum in the form of a collision from a person or an object is the major reason for a broken sternum.
Signs and Symptoms Of Fractured Sternum
Some of the main symptoms and signs linked with a broken sternum include;
- The fracture is liked with an immediate onset of pain in the chest which is usually sharp and severe. The pain is worsened by any movement like sneezing, coughing, deep breath or laughing.
- The pain is typically worsened when lying is specific positions like facing sideways or down. The side is delicate to touch
- Bruising and swelling may also be noticed in most situations
- In serious injuries, the condition may be linked with a noticeable chest deformity
Though in most situations, the diagnoses is dependent on medical history and physical examination. The physician may ask for an X-ray of the chest to prove diagnosis. In situation of pain which cant be explained or risk linked to organ damage. MRI imaging or CT scan can be asked for. In most situations, additional tests to determining the correct functioning of the heart and lungs may also be carried out.
How Long Does It Take To Heal A Broken Sternum?
Treatment of Localized pain may be done using rest and ice packs. Applying ice locally for 20 minutes every two hours during the starting phases of injury can aid in soothing the pain. Over the counter medicine may also be used in soothing the pain.
The healing duration of the sternum may be based on two factors- the seriousness of the injury and the level of bone displacement. Additionally, degree of damage to the organs around may play an important role in the healing of the sternum.
- Simple sternum fractures which are not linked with internal tissue damage or displacement can heal with the aid of splints in 4-10 weeks. It would require longer in older patients and heals fast in kids.
- Complex sternum fractures linked with internal organ damage or displacement may need alignments of the bone and fixation utilizing plates and pins. In most situations, after surgery, the bone gets healed in 6 to 8 weeks. Nonetheless, total recovery may take up to six months.
The recovery can be sped up by carrying out simple exercises to enhance the strength, flexibility and posture of the joint. The aim is to avert atrophy and stiffness of the muscles concerned. Ultimately an extensive plan for rehabilitation may be needed under the supervision of a trained physiotherapist. Utilisation of chest guards and padding may be needed during the early stages to avert secondary injuries.
The diagnosis for the condition is dependent on various factors and in most situations the patients can go back to routine non tedious activities in three months.