Proximal Humerus Fracture

Though proximal humerus fractures are mostly seen in older patients with weaker bones, a serious auto accident can cause enough trauma to break the bone in younger victims as well. Being a Kirkland auto crash lawyer in a personal injury law firm in Bellevue, Washington I have encountered many clients suffering from breaks to their proximal humerus. The humerus is the bone in the upper arm which connects to two very important joints; the proximal (shoulder joint) and the distal (elbow joint). A proximal humerus fracture can be tough to handle as it can break into as many as four pieces.

In most cases, about 85%, the fractured bones are not displaced, which means a relatively simply and non-invasive recovery process that doesn’t require surgery. For these cases, the arm is simply placed in a sling or brace and given time to heal.  In the 15% of proximal humerus fractures in which the bones are displaced surgery is typically required to put the bones back into place before they can heal.

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In the case of a two or three part fracture, surgery usually includes screwing a metal place into the bones to secure them back into place. In the case of a four part fracture the success rate is typically much lower.

An injury to the proximal humerus has very dangerous consequences, including a great chance of damage to the axilary nerve, 59% for nondisplaced fractures, and 82% for displaced fractures. The symptoms of nerve damage include; tingling or numbness in the arm or fingers, or muscle weakness. Fortunately, most patients recovery fully from nerve damage.

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