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Car crashes may result in fracture of the breastbone

As some South Carolina residents might know, a car crash may result in chest trauma. Without the protection a seat belt or air bag offers, it is possible the occupant's chest might strike the steering wheel or dashboard. This may result in a fracture of the sternum, the broad, flat bone in the chest.

The incidence of fracture is highest in women and older individuals. The increase in those over age 50 may be due to the occurrence of osteoporosis. Up to 8 percent of cases involving chest trauma result in fracture, and 60 to 90 percent of sternal fractures result from a car crash.

When a sternal fracture occurs, the individual may notice muscle spasm, pain or bruising and swelling at the site. It might be difficult to breath or cough, and deformities of the rib cage may exist. Diagnosis involves a physical exam, the patient's history and radiographic examination. MRI or CT scans might be done to determine if other structures were involved, such as the heart and lungs.

Treatment for a simple fracture requires that lifting, carrying or pushing activities be avoided for 10 to 24 weeks. Application of ice helps in the initial stages. The fracture may take longer to resolve due to complications. When chest trauma results in injury of the lungs, heart or arteries, the incidence of death rises to between 25 and 45 percent. Rib fractures and injury to the spinal cord might be involved.

When someone suffers a sternal fracture in a motor vehicle accident, it may involve a lengthy recovery period. The individual might be unable to work or may incur medical bills. Speaking to an attorney, if another driver's negligence was involved, may help. The attorney could assist the individual by evaluating the accident and filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages.

Source: SteadyHealth, "Dangers Of Sternum Fracture (Breast Bone)," Dr. Vijay Kumar Soni, Accessed April 7, 2015

Philpot Law Firm, PA
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Greenville, SC 29601

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Toll Free: 866-853-3497
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