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Should my daughter experience excessive pain after surgery to repair a broken femur?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2011
Answered : 243 Questions
My six year old daughter broke her femur on Sun. the surgeon put in a flexible nail and used an immobilizer. He said to remove the immobilizer today and help her shower. She had been showing some progress in getting herself out of the wheelchair to the walker and onto the toilet. Today however she is in a great deal of pain despite valium and lortab. If she isn't moving and is in her wheelchair or recliner she doesn't seem to feel much pain but if she moves, especially to get up or down she is screaming in pain. I don't feel this is normal. Should she be in so much pain on moving?
Tue, 1 May 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Sapan J. Pandya 1 hour later
Thanks for your query.
I personally believe that Immobilizer was removed too early. That is the cause of pain. In a growing child, the orthopaedic surgeons wish to remove the immobilizer early. Otherwise there will be shortness of the affected limb. The normal limb grows at normal rate, while the affected limb is unable to do so because of the Immobilizer.
But then there is a risk of improper fusion of the fractured ends of bones, if immobilizer is removed too early.
For the Orthopaedic Surgeon, there is a fine balance to be maintained between the two – to risk a short limb or to risk a improper fusion of bones. So your Orthopaedic Surgeon may have taken the decision to remove the immobilizer for the benefit of your daughter. Seeing the child and having operated her, your Orthopaedic Surgeon would be the best judge.
You may get in touch with your Orthopaedic Surgeon. He may advise for an X-ray of the affected limb, to check for the healing/ fusion of fractured parts of bones.
Kindly let me know about her recent X-ray.
Waiting eagerly for your follow-up.

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