What Is Pseudarthrosis?

Are you curious to know what is pseudarthrosis? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about pseudarthrosis in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is pseudarthrosis?

Pseudarthrosis, also known as a nonunion, refers to the failure of a bone to heal properly after a fracture or spinal fusion surgery. This condition can cause persistent pain, instability, and limitations in mobility. In this blog post, we will explore the definition, causes, symptoms, and available treatment options for pseudarthrosis.

What Is Pseudarthrosis?

Pseudarthrosis is a medical term that describes the failure of a bone to heal or fuse as expected after a fracture or spinal fusion procedure. When a bone breaks, the body initiates a natural healing process in which the fractured ends of the bone reconnect and fuse together. However, in cases of pseudarthrosis, this union does not occur, leading to a persistent gap between the bone ends.

Causes Of Pseudarthrosis:

Several factors can contribute to the development of pseudarthrosis, including:

  1. Poor Blood Supply: Insufficient blood flow to the fractured area can impede the delivery of essential nutrients and oxygen necessary for bone healing.
  2. Infection: An infection around the fracture site can interfere with the body’s healing response, preventing proper bone union.
  3. Instability: If the fractured bone ends are not adequately stabilized, either through internal fixation devices or external casts, it can impede the healing process and increase the risk of pseudarthrosis.
  4. Smoking and Poor Nutrition: Smoking and nutritional deficiencies can impair the body’s ability to heal bones, increasing the likelihood of pseudarthrosis.

Symptoms Of Pseudarthrosis:

The signs and symptoms of pseudarthrosis may vary depending on the location and severity of the condition. Common symptoms include:

  1. Persistent Pain: Individuals with pseudarthrosis often experience ongoing pain at the site of the fracture or fusion procedure.
  2. Limited Mobility: Pseudarthrosis can result in decreased range of motion and difficulty performing regular activities due to instability or mechanical issues.
  3. Visible Deformity: In some cases, pseudarthrosis can lead to visible deformity or abnormal movement at the site of the fracture or fusion.

Treatment Options For Pseudarthrosis:

The treatment approach for pseudarthrosis aims to promote bone healing and restore stability. Depending on the severity and location of the condition, treatment options may include:

  1. Surgical Intervention: In cases of pseudarthrosis, surgery is often required to address the nonunion and promote bone healing. This may involve bone grafting, internal fixation with metal plates or screws, or the use of bone stimulation techniques to enhance healing.
  2. Medications: Pain management medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or analgesics, may be prescribed to alleviate discomfort associated with pseudarthrosis.
  3. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy plays a vital role in the rehabilitation process by strengthening the surrounding muscles, improving joint mobility, and promoting overall function.
  4. Lifestyle Modifications: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including quitting smoking and maintaining a balanced diet, can enhance the body’s healing capacity and improve bone health.


Pseudarthrosis is a condition that can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, causing pain, limited mobility, and instability. Prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment are essential to address pseudarthrosis effectively. If you experience persistent pain or suspect that you may have pseudarthrosis, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide a comprehensive evaluation and guide you through the appropriate treatment options. By addressing pseudarthrosis proactively, you can enhance the chances of successful bone healing and regain your mobility and well-being.

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What Is The Main Cause Of Pseudarthrosis?

The most common contributor to Pseudarthrosis is smoking, as nicotine seems to block the ability of the osteoblasts to form new bone. Other factors that increase the risk of Pseudarthrosis are malnutrition, obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Pseudarthrosis?

What are the symptoms of pseudarthrosis? The symptoms of pseudoarthrosis are similar to those of osteoarthritis and include; lack of mobility, persistent pain, joint clicking and in some cases, redness and even fever.

How Do You Fix Pseudarthrosis?

Diagnosis of pseudarthrosis involves imaging tests of the spine. The treatment for pseudarthrosis is a second spinal fusion surgery.

What Is The Most Common Site Of Pseudoarthrosis?

The pseudarthrosis was most likely to occur at the thoracolumbar junction. Older patients (>55 years), longer fusion (>12 vertebrae), and those with thoracolumbar kyphosis (> or =20 degrees) demonstrated increased risk for pseudarthrosis.


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