A comminuted fracture is a bone break where the bone is smashed into several pieces.

Page updated January 2024 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

comminuted fracture of the patella
In this illustration the fragments of the comminuted fracture of the patella are un-displaced. If the fragments are displaced, it is important to try to 'reduce' them and hold them in position while the fractures heal.


Comminuted fractures in the patella

A comminuted fracture may occur in any bone, but in the knee one is usually referring to the patella (kneecap). Cerclage wires are often used to hold the fragments together until healing takes place.

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Peer-reviewed papers

  • Quote:

    "In severe comminuted fractures [of the patella], open reduction and fixation with small fragment screws or new angular stable plates for anatomic restoration of the retropatellar surface and extension mechanism results in best outcome. Additional circular cerclage wiring using either typical metal cerclage wires or resorbable PDS/non-resorbable FiberWires increases fixation stability and decreases risk for re-dislocation."

    Citation: Gwinner C, Märdian S, Schwabe P, Schaser KD, Krapohl BD, Jung TM. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4717300/>Current concepts review: Fractures of the patella. GMS Interdiscip Plast Reconstr Surg DGPW. 2016 Jan 18;5:Doc01. doi: 10.3205/iprs000080. PMID: 26816667; PMCID: PMC4717300.

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Dr Sheila Strover (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

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