Surgery and Bone Healing

Does Surgery Make a Broken Bone Heal Faster?

surgery break healing
Does surgery help bone healing?. Javier Larrea / Getty Images

We live in an impatient society. People want things now, not later. This is true in medicine as well. When a patient breaks a bone, they want to get better, faster.  So, does surgery make broken bones heal faster?

Surgery and Bone Healing

In fact, surgery usually slows the healing of bones. Bones heal the fastest when they have good blood supply, and the patient has good nutrition to bring the necessary cells and nutrients to heal the bone.

When a patient has surgery for a broken bone, the blood supply to the bone is damaged, and the healing process slows down. In some surgical procedures, the impact on the blood supply is minimal, while in others it is much more significant.

There are types of fractures that require repositioning that can only be done surgically, and there are types of fractures that cannot be held in place adequately with a cast. These types of fractures may benefit from a surgical procedure.

Sometimes surgery will sufficiently stabilize bone to allow for faster mobilization When I treat a patient with a wrist fracture, I might cast them for six weeks. However, if I perform surgery, they may begin to start moving within a week of the surgery. This is not because the bone heals faster with surgery. Rather, with a metal plate holding the bones in place, I do not have to immobilize the patient as long.

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