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From Raleigh, North Carolina, USA:

My 12 year old son broke his leg after being hit by an automobile about 6 months ago and his leg still hasn't healed. Could his Type 1 Diabetes be a cause of the lack of healing and is there anything else we can do to help?

Currently our Orthopaedic Doctor has given us 3 options: 1)Surgery to implant a rod in the leg; 2)Surgery to do a bone graft from his hip to the leg; 3)Wait a while longer and see what happens. We've chosen #3 for now and also have him hooked up to an Electric Bone Stimulator approximately 10 hours a day. (His Blood Sugars seem to elevate when he's on the Stimulator, however.)

Our Ortho doctor knows next to nothing about diabetes. Is there anything else we can or should be doing with our son's leg and his diabetes to help promote bone growth?


I am sorry to hear that your son is having so much trouble with his fracture healing. Although it is true that high blood sugars can interfere with wound healing, I've never heard of high blood sugars interfering with bone healing, though I would still recommend keeping the best blood sugar control possible just in case this is a factor.

I think it is difficult for a parent to choose which course of treatment to pursue. I think the doctor should explain the possibilities with you and then recommend a course of treatment. If your son is 12, he is probably still growing, and if you haven't consulted with a pediatric orthopedist, I would strongly recommend this.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that if your son does have either one of the surgical procedures under consideration, you should work closely with a pediatric endocrinologist to keep his blood sugars under the best possible control before, during, and for weeks after surgery to both promote wound healing from surgery and decrease the risk of infection which is always one of the complications of implanting a foreign object in someone's leg.

On the other hand, if your orthopedist thinks surgery is the best treatment, he should not avoid it because your child has diabetes, just be meticulous about blood sugar control. It would probably be a good idea for the orthopedist to talk to your pediatric endocrinologist.


Original posting 10 Apr 1999
Posted to Other Illnesses and Complications


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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