Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Physiology & Medicine => Topic started by: sprite190582 on 20/09/2004 09:55:16

Title: Scaphoid bones
Post by: sprite190582 on 20/09/2004 09:55:16
Why is the Scaphoid bone so easy to brake but so hard to detect?
I am currently on my 9th brake / crack / fracture to one of my Scaphoid bones and I am awaiting a bone scan to confirm the fracture. Each time I brake it, if it does not show on the x-ray I am sent for a bone scan. The result always comes back as a positive brake from the scan so why does it not show on the x-ray? This time round I have also broken my Radius and Ulna which are both clear brakes on an x-ray, my Scaphoid which is suspected to be broken does not show on the x-ray, why?

Title: Re: Scaphoid bones
Post by: chris on 20/09/2004 15:57:44
Compared with a massive chunky wrist bone, the scaphoid is tiny and  breaks can be almost impercetible. The other bones in the forearm are easy to see on X-ray because there are few other bones there to get in the way, so the pictures are easy to take.

A fracture to the scaphoid can be extremely serious because the proximal end of the bone often relies upon blood flowing up from the distal end to keep it alive. If you fracture the bone you can divorce the proximal end (closest to your body) from its blood supply, leading to avascular necrosis (literally bone death due to lack of blood). That's rather like tying a tourniquet around your leg and then watching it drop off !

So doctors keep a close eye on scaphoid fractures to ensure that this hasn't happened.

"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception"
 - Groucho Marx
Title: Re: Scaphoid bones
Post by: sprite190582 on 20/09/2004 17:00:44
Thanks Chris, I wish my local A & E doctors had told me that. I just thought they were making a fuss over nothering

Thanks again

Title: Re: Scaphoid bones
Post by: neilep on 20/09/2004 18:51:48
Wishing you better Alex.

'Men are the same as women...just inside out !' (
Title: Re: Scaphoid bones
Post by: bezoar on 08/10/2004 01:43:03
I work for a hand surgeon who also says the same thing -- the schphoid breaks don't always show on the first Xray, but he says and Xray one or two weeks later usually shows it.  I'll have to remember to ask him why.