Scaphoid fractures account for almost 75% of all broken carpal bones in the hand. This bone is also known as the “navicular” bone; one of the small bones in the hand and sits between the base of the thumb and the second metacarpal bone.
Young and middle-aged people are the groups who incur these injuries most often. Age groups most frequently affected range between 16-60 years.
One of the most common mechanisms for injury is falling onto the outstretched hand. Many times, people will mistake this injury for a wrist sprain and delay seeking any medical attention.
More often than not, only when symptoms persist beyond what is seen as a reasonable length of time for sprains to heal, do they get their injury evaluated, only to find they’ve sustained a fracture.
While better than 90 percent of all injuries of this type heal without incident, there is a small percentage that can have some serious complications.
One of the most commonly seen complications is a condition known as avascular (loss of blood supply) necrosis (death of the bone).
Although these injuries can occur in any portion of the carpal bone, this problem is seen more in breaks located mainly in the middle, or "waist".
The injury, coupled with the unique shape and blood supply pattern of the carpal bone leads to a disruption of the blood to one half of the bone, leading to its death.
Diagnosis can be a difficult task at times. Aside from obvious findings on x-rays, sometimes multiple resources are necessary to identify and verify the presence of the break, such as MRI examination, Bone Scans and "blood flow" studies of the bone to determine if the injured bone is indeed receive adequate blood supply.
To learn more about diagnosing these fractures, Click Here
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