Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Orthopedic Teaching

Soft Tissue Case 10 Background

An open fracture is defined as a fracture which involves the overlying soft tissue structures such that there is communication between the fracture and the open air [1].  

The diagnosis is straightforward when bone is visible through a wound.  However the diagnosis can be more subtle with puncture wounds.

The major complication that can arise from open fractures is osteomyelitis [1]. Early diagnosis allows timely interventions to minimize the chances of osteomyelitis and is crucial for the Emergency Physician.