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Abdominal Fractures

Fractures in the abdominal region are relatively uncommon compared to fractures in other parts of the body due to the protective nature of the rib cage and the flexibility of the abdominal wall. However, fractures can occur due to significant trauma, such as motor vehicle accidents, falls from heights, or direct blows to the abdomen. When they occur, they can involve various structures, including the ribs, pelvis, and spine, leading to the different types of injuries documented on this page.

X-ray of fracture in the abdominal region of the body

Helpful Information

The abdomen region is surrounded by the rib cage at the top, which consists of the ribs and the lower part of the sternum, and the pelvic bones at the bottom, including the ilium, ischium, and pubis. These bones form a protective framework for the abdominal organs. The spine at the back also provides support and protection. While the abdomen itself does not contain bones, its surrounding skeletal structure is crucial for organ protection and bodily support. Fractures to bones surrounding the abdomen can lead to ongoing health issues such as chronic pain, reduced mobility, and difficulties in breathing or walking. In scenarios where these injuries were caused by third-party negligence, it may  be possible to bring an injury compensation claim.

What types of fractures can occur in the abdominal region of the body?

  • Rib fractures – These are common in cases of blunt trauma to the abdomen, such as from a car accident or a fall. Rib fractures can occur singly or in multiples and can potentially puncture surrounding organs, leading to complications such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung) or internal bleeding.
  • Pelvic fractures – The pelvis is a sturdy ring-like structure composed of several bones. Fractures of the pelvis can occur due to high-energy trauma, such as a car accident or a fall from a significant height. Pelvic fractures can be associated with significant bleeding and injury to nearby organs, including the bladder, urethra, and intestines.
  • Lumbar spine fractures – Fractures of the lumbar vertebrae (lower back) can occur as a result of severe trauma, such as a fall or a direct blow to the back. These fractures can lead to instability of the spine and may also be associated with damage to the spinal cord or nearby nerves, potentially causing neurological deficits.
  • Abdominal wall fractures – Direct trauma to the abdomen can result in fractures of the abdominal wall, particularly in the bony structures such as the iliac crest or the lower ribs. While these fractures are relatively rare, they can occur in high-impact injuries and may be associated with damage to underlying organs or blood vessels.
  • Vertebral fractures – In addition to lumbar spine fractures, trauma to the abdomen can also lead to fractures of other vertebrae in the thoracic (mid-back) or cervical (neck) regions of the spine. These fractures can vary in severity and may be associated with spinal cord injury or nerve damage, depending on the location and extent of the fracture.

What are the more severe consequences following fractures to bones in the abdomen region?

Fractures to bones surrounding the abdomen, such as the ribs or pelvis, can cause internal bleeding, organ damage, and infections, leading to life-threatening conditions. Complications such as a pneumothorax from rib fractures, or pelvic fractures causing injury to the urinary tract and reproductive organs, are particularly concerning. Such injuries often require surgical intervention and prolonged hospitalisation. The risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism also increases, especially with pelvic fractures. These conditions demand immediate medical attention to prevent long-term disability or death.

When is it possible to bring a compensation claim following a fracture occurring in the abdominal region of the body?

A compensation claim can be brought if the injury resulted from someone else’s negligence or a deliberate act. This includes workplace accidents, road traffic accidents, falls due to unsafe conditions, or violent assaults. The claim must be filed within the legal time limits; in Ireland, this is usually 2 years from the date of knowledge. Proving negligence or fault is crucial, and documentation of the injury, medical treatment, and related expenses are key components of a successful claim.

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