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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Limb Reconstruction

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Non-healing fractures

A fracture area that has not healed is called a non-union or un-united fracture.

This area may have metalwork present, either along the fracture in the form of a plate with screws, or an internal rod within the bone called an intra-medullary nail. Intra-medullary means within the medulla or canal of the bone.

There are many reasons why a fracture may not heal:

  • it may be that the current fixation has broken
  • there may be an infection at the fracture area, which has prevented the fracture from healing.

At the time of your surgery, tiny samples of the fracture area may be taken and sent to the Bacteriology Laboratories to determine if there is an infection present. Infected bone is called osteomyelitis.