A sudden accident could happen to anyone of us which can result in a painful fracture and can turn all our well-planned agendas topsy turvy, and when we rush to the nearby orthopaedic surgeon with so much of anxiety and apprehension, and after waiting for some time to see the surgeon, you enter the consultation room with so much of trepidation, and the surgeon examines you, takes an x-ray and tells you with a very serious face, you need to be operated, you feel it is the last thing you need is it not?
Now, do all fractures need to be operated?
The answer is a big…. no. Every fracture has got a character like every one of us and behaves generally in a preordained way and has a mind of its own. Some fractures are displaced, or there may be an associated wound which might need proper dressing and management and these patients might need surgical intervention, so in these cases, the fracture needs to be operated, while some fractures are not much displaced, and have only minimal soft tissue damage, which may be treated without surgery.
The general contention is, fractures in young individuals less than 15 years old, minimally displaced fractures, and fractures not involving the joints can be treated conservatively or without surgery.
Comminuted fracture with displacement, fractures with open wound, fractures involving the joints and some fractures like fracture neck of femur, fracture scaphoid – which is the bone in the wrist, generally to be treated surgically, but we should always remember the decision rests with the well-informed surgeon.
Generally, surgical treatment results in the patient going back to his normal activities faster and earlier and thereby going back to normal activities as soon as possible.
Rigid immobilization is usually avoided after surgery thereby pain and stiffness of the joint can be avoided, while in treatment without surgery for fracture, immobilization is a must, which can result in stiffness and pain in the joints.
So, when there is a fracture, multiple factors come into play when the surgeon decides to operate or not to operate. The important thing is to remember that, your orthopaedic surgeon is a professional and knows his job. Though there may be exceptions like in any other profession, which I do not refute, full confidence in your surgeon and belief in his methods will go a long way in making you better soon.
If you do not have confidence in your surgeon, better change your surgeon, which might do good to you and the surgeon in the long run.