Jul 26, 2022
surgical options for broken bone care
age: 5 years old
condition: broken bones
seen in: orthopedics
Can a 4 year old know their arm is broken? In Elyn's case, the answer is yes!
In May 2021, Megan Dolle-Blaisdell got a call from her daughter’s school nurse. Her daughter, Elyn, had fallen when she got off the bus at school. She was refusing to go back to her pre-school class because her arm hurt.
Megan spoke with Elyn over the phone, and she asked her to come and pick her up “because her arm was broken.” After driving to school, Megan determined that Elyn’s suspicion was likely right. She had an obvious deformity above her right elbow and would need to go to the hospital.
They traveled to Dayton Children’s south campus emergency department in Springboro where she received X-rays and a formal diagnosis, a supracondylar fracture which would require surgery.
surgery to fix the broken bone
Elyn was transferred to Dayton Children’s main campus via ambulance to have surgery with pediatric orthopedic surgeon Craig Shank, MD. During surgery, Dr. Shank placed three pins in her elbow to help repair and stabilize the fracture.
While the surgery required an overnight stay, we made the most of it! Elyn even told the staff they were having a “girls’ night” and they were all invited, says Elyn's mom.
back to Dayton Children's, this time without surgery
Elyn’s fracture healed up nicely, but just nine months later, she was back at Dayton Children’s. On her 5th birthday, she had crashed into a tree while sledding and broke her tibia and fibula on her right leg. She came to the emergency department via ambulance and was immediately seen by the orthopedics team.
To avoid surgery, pediatric orthopedic surgeon Claire Beimesch, MD utilized conscious sedation during Elyn’s fracture reduction, a procedure done to help reset the bones after a fracture. Conscious sedation helps to reduce anxiety and pain during medical procedures without putting patients fully asleep with anesthesia.
"We are fortunate at Dayton Children's to have consistent, safe access to conscious sedation, which minimizes the amount of sedating medicine that children need to have a fracture reduced,” said Dr. Beimesch.
benefits of conscious sedation in fracture care:
- Reduces anxiety and pain during medical procedures without putting patients fully asleep with anesthesia
- Avoids incisions
- In most cases, reductions of the fracture and casting can be done in the emergency room as the physicians there are trained in this procedure to provide safe and effective sedation to help our patients.
- The patient can be discharged directly from the emergency department or the next day
on the road to recovery
After her reduction, Elyn had a long road to recovery. She had to use a wheelchair while in an above the knee cast for six weeks, followed by a below the knee cast for approximately five weeks. She then relied on a walker while in a boot for an additional four weeks.
These days, Elyn is healing well! She still must refrain from jumping or dancing but should be fully healed within a year.
“At Dayton Children’s, especially in the orthopedics department, everyone is always kind, thoughtful and great with my children,” said Megan. “I’m so glad to have a local hospital to trust my kids’ health and safety with.”
concerned about a broken bone? We've got options!
- when you can wait: If you think your child has broken a bone, your instinct may be to run to the nearest emergency department (ED) for care. You may be surprised to learn that many times it can wait and you can avoid an emergency visit and skip straight to the orthopedic specialist. Learn more about what can wait here: www.childrensdayton.org/the-hub/fracture-and-broken-bone-care-what-can-wait
- make an appointment online: Did you know you can make an appointment online with one of our pediatric orthopedic providers? You're just a few clicks away! Visit www.childrensdayton.org/schedule-orthopedic-appointment to schedule today.
- after-hours care: We know broken bones don't always happen during typical office hours, that's why Dayton Children's offers "after-hours ortho" on Mondays and Wednesdays. You'll find appointments outside of our normal business hours by visiting our online scheduling page and selecting "after-hours" in the dropdown menu. Visit www.childrensdayton.org/schedule-orthopedic-appointment to schedule today