“Why do I need another x-ray, if the first one didn’t show anything wrong??”
Answer: The Resorptive Phase of bone healing.
Here’s how it goes:
A brand-new fracture that is in *perfect* alignment is invisible on x-ray. Yep, invisible. So the healing process starts with some microscopic blood vessels which grow into the fractured area. That happens right away. These are responsible for bringing in all the good stuff (calcium, Vitamin D and other goodies) that your bone is going to need to heal up. So the first thing the little vessels do is to resorb (take away) just a tiny bit of bone @ the edges of the break. (Nobody is sure why they start this way, but they do). Think about it like a carpenter sanding off 2 boards just a little so they later will fit nicely. If you take another x-ray of this *perfectly* aligned fracture at this point in time, you will see the crack, courtesy of the resorbed bone ends. This resorptive phase is usually seen best on about day 7-10 after the fracture. So now you know!
PS: That resorptive phase happens with virtually *all* fractures, and can look scary if you’re not expecting it!! But remember “it’s just a phase”!!! LOL!!!
Until next time
James Bailey MD
What kind of doctor is an Orthopedist?
Orthopedists are physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders, conditions, and injuries of the skeletal system and the muscles, joints, and ligaments associated with it. This medical specialty is best known for setting broken bones, repairing and replacing joints (such as knees and hips) and straightening spines. Most Orthopedists practice orthopedic surgery. However, this field has a number of sub-specialties; for example, a Sports Physician is an Orthopedist who treats sports-related injuries. Orthopedic surgeons use both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, sports injuries and degenerative diseases.
What kind of doctor is a Physiatrist?
A physiatrist is a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Physical Medicine specializes in treating patients with various Orthopedic problems in a non-surgical fashion. This often involves physical exercises and modalities. Our physicians also specialize in targeted injection techniques designed to alleviate pain and help promote recovery. Our Physiatrists also have specialized training in Electrodiagnosis, Musculoskelatal Ultrasound and Sports Medicine. The field of rehabilitation involves taking care of patients who have suffered injuries or illness leading to significant impairment such as paralysis from a stroke. Our Rehabilitation physicians run an interdisciplinary team of therapists and assistants with the goal of restoring patients to maximal function.
What kind of doctor is a Rheumatologist?
A Rheumatologist is an internist who is qualified by additional training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. Rheumatologists treat arthritis, certain autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal pain disorders and osteoporosis. The role the rheumatologist plays in health care depends on several factors and needs. Typically the Rheumatologist works with other physicians, sometimes acting as a consultant to advise another physician about a specific diagnosis and treatment plan. In other situations, the Rheumatologist acts as a manager, relying upon the help of many skilled professionals including nurses, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists and social workers.
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