For a physician classification of fractures is of utmost importance. Not only it suggests the severity and mechanics of injury that occurred, but also helps to formulate most suitable treatment.There are many types of classifications which are available to physicians. These classifications vary with type of bone involved and the region of bone involved.
For this discussion we would stick to the basic and general classification of the fractures of long bones. We have already discussed closed and open fractures. That is one type of classification according to absence or presence of wounds that communicate with fracture.
Fractures are also classified according to the pattern in which bone breaks. Let us take them one by one
A fracture in which the break is across the bone, at a right angle to the long axis of the bone. Adjoining figure would illustrate.
Instead of break being at right angle, it goes in oblique direction to the long axis of the bone.The fracture is confined to one plane. In other words the bone has broken at an angle.
Spiral Fracture :
This fracture is easily confused with the oblique fracture. Instead of a straight break as in oblique fracture that is only in one plane, the break in this case traverses both the planes. To understand this you need to imagine a three dimensional view of the bone.
If you take a stick and slice it at an angle so that it is divided in two, it is similar to oblique fracture. But if you twist and break that stick it would result in a break pattern that would start from one point, move obliquely in on direction, reach the other end and then continue in other side of the stick in a spiral fashion to meet the original point.
Adjoining diagram would give you rough idea of what I am trying to say. Compare it with the oblique fracture diagram and you would be able to appreciate the difference.
Comminuted Fracture :
If the injury results in multiple breaks in the bone, they are visible as different fragments. These kind of fractures are called comminuted fractures.
Apart from this, fracture can be displaced or undisplaced. If bone fragments stay together maintaining structural alignment of the bone , it is called an undisplaced fracture. A hairline fracture is an example of an undisplaced fracture.
But fragment of the bone may move from their original position resulting separation of the fragments. Such a fracture is called a displaced fracture. (See the figure)