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The sternum is a long, flat bone that lies in the center of the chest and connects the ribs through cartilage. The sternum forms the front of the ribs, protecting the heart, lungs, and other major blood vessels.
In the event of a trauma or accident that causes a hard blow to the front of the chest, the sternum bone can fracture (sternum fracture).
Sternum Fracture Causes
Most sternal fractures are caused by direct trauma to the chest. This trauma is usually caused by seat belts when someone is in a car accident. Apart from traffic accidents, sternal fractures can also be caused by: fall from a height, experiencing trauma while doing sports, was hit by a motor vehicle
Sternum Fracture Symptoms
The patient feels sudden pain in the chest when the injury occurs. Patients with sternal fractures also feel a cramping-like sensation in the center of the chest. The pain associated with sternal fractures is often intense, sharp and increases when the patient coughs, takes a deep breath, sneezes or laughs.
The pain in the front of the chest can get worse at night or soon after waking up in the morning. Pain is felt when applying firm pressure to the sternum at the site of the fracture.
The pain associated with a chest fracture increases when the patient lies down in certain positions, such as when facing sideways or facing down. Pain is also felt with certain chest and upper back movements such as bending forward, sideways, twisting or bending backwards.
Shoulder and arm movements can also cause pain, such as pulling, pushing, lifting weights, and raising the hands above the head. There is swelling and bruising at the fracture area.
In severe cases of sternal fracture, there is displacement of the bone, which appears as an abnormality. The patient may also have difficulty breathing if there is a broken sternum. Heavy breathing causes uncomfortable pain or pressure sensation.
Sternum Fracture Treatments
At sternum fracture specialist clinic, sternum fracture treatments depends on the severity of the fracture, how it broke, and other symptoms you are experiencing. If the fracture is not too severe and the bone only has hairline cracks, the most common form of treatment is complete rest and allowing the fractured bone to heal on its own.
To reduce swelling and pain in the injured area, you can apply an ice pack to the chest area. You can also take painkillers. However, if your pain gets worse, you may need to consult your doctor for more intensive treatment. In severe cases, where a fracture occurs that does not heal on its own, surgery is required to put the bone back in place. After undergoing surgery, you need to carry out routine controls with the orthopedic surgeon to ensure that your healing is optimal.