Because growth plates haven't hardened into solid bone, they are difficult to interpret on X-rays. Doctors may ask for X-rays of both the injured limb and the opposite limb so that they can be compared. Sometimes a growth plate fracture cannot be seen on X-ray. If the child is tender over the area of the growth plate, your doctor may recommend a cast or a splint to protect the limb. X-rays are taken again in three to four weeks and, if there was a fracture, new bone healing will typically be seen at that time.
For more-serious injuries, scans that can visualize soft tissue — such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) or ultrasound — may be ordered.
June 29, 2013
- Growth plate injuries. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Growth_Plate_Injuries. Accessed April 22, 2013.
- Growth plate fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00040. Accessed April 22, 2013.
- Fractures. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/fractures_dislocations_and_sprains/fractures.html?qt=fractures&alt=sh. Accessed April 22, 2013.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed April 22, 2013.
- Hay WW, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 21st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=14. Accessed April 22, 2013.
- Mathison DJ, et al. General principles of fracture management: Fracture patterns and description in children. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 22, 2013.
- Larson NA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 1, 2013.
- Green NE, et al. Skeletal trauma in children. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-4900-5..10006-8--s0160&isbn=978-1-4160-4900-5&sid=1432152217&uniqId=409092740-3#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-4900-5..10006-8--s0170. Accessed April 22, 2013.
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