What is a Salter Harris Fracture?
A Salter Harris Fracture is a fracture of the growth plate of the bone.
This type of fracture is usually seen in younger people who are still
A growth plate fracture can be a serious
injury if not treated correctly.
Below you will find more information
about the different types of Salter Harris fractures, as well as
appropriate treatment options.
Each of the bones in your
body is divided into several different parts.
metaphysis, the physis, and the epiphysis. The growth plate is the area
of bone between the metaphysis and the epiphysis, and this is where the
bone is actively growing, making it longer.
explain bone structure to my patients, I tell them to think of the bone
like an Oreo cookie.
You have the top cookie
(metaphysis), the bottom cookie (epiphysis), and the creamy middle
(growth plate). Salter Harris fractures can occur to either the top or
bottom part of the bones, or both.
Salter Harris Type I Fractures
Type I growth plate fractures involve a fracture
through the growth plate. Imagine taking the oreo cookie and seperating
the top and bottom halves. This type of fracture may not be visible on
an X-ray, and usually doesn't cause any growth problems.
usually consists of immobilization for a period of time, 4-6 weeks.
This is the most common type of Salter Harris
fracture. A type II fracture involves a break in the bone through the
metaphysis and extending into the growth plate.
in the Oreo example, imagine breaking off part of the top cookie.
II fractures usually do not cause growth problems, and are treated with
immobilization. It is important that the fracture be aligned correctly
in order to heal properly.
Type three fractures extend through the
epiphysis into the growth plate. This type of fracture is more likely
to cause growth problems because of the involvement of the epiphysis
and the disruption of the growth plate.
also require surgical intervention in order to re-align the bones for
This Salter Harris Fracture extends through both
the metaphysis and the epiphysis.
your Oreo cookie in two.
Long term disability and
growth problems are common with this type of fracture because of the
disurption of both the metaphysis and epiphysis.
intervention is common in order to re-align the bones correctly.
A Salter Harris V is a crushing type of injury
where the epiphysis and metaphysis are forced together, crushing the
Imagine smashing your Oreo cookie.
is significant disruption of the epiphyseal plate and growth problems
can be severe with this type of injury.
plate fractures can be a serious injury depending on the type of
fracture. Types I and II are the least likely to have long term growth
problems or require surgical intervention. Types III, IV, and V are
more likely to cause growth related issues, or require surgery. With
any type of fracture, it is important to follow your physician's
instructions and make sure that your injury is treated correctly.
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