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How long does a radial bone fracture take to heal?

Q: I am a 40 years old woman who had an accident about 2 years back due to which my radius and ulna bone, both of the right side were fixed with a nail. Till 6 months the radial bone did not unite, so I underwent plate implantation and bone grafting last year. But even now there is some gap in the radial bone. The doctor said that the cortex is not forming on one side so they asked me to go for stem cell injections. What medicine should I take? Please advise.

A:If there is a gap in the radius after plate fixation even after a year, it means the radius is not united. I don’t blame either you or the surgeon. Both have done their job best. Bone healing is a natural process, which will most often occur and fracture treatment aims to ensure the best possible function of the injured part after healing. The healing time for broken bones is influenced by a number of variables that can impact it including nutrition and blood supply. For example, the ends of long bones are vascular so they heal faster than the center. Certain types of food and exercise foster increased blood supply and hence the variable time it takes to heal. Eating high calcium foods is essential for bone healing. Calcium tablets may augment it so take Tab Macalvit 500 mg twice daily for 2 months. Avoid smoking and alcohol ingestion. If you have pain in the forearm or doubt regarding bone healing still, I would recommend you to go for bone grafting around the fracture site but not stem cell injections. Stem cell injections are nothing but blood aspirated from your bones (e.g. knee), which contain all the growing bone cells and injecting into the fracture site of the radius. The success rate of bone formation is very low compared to the bone grafting. You may as well need multiple injections. Bone grafting is still the time tested operation for this sort of delayed, non-union of radius fracture.

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