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Part 31a

In those cases of fracture in which the bones protrude and cannot be restored to their place, the following mode of reduction may be practiced:- Some small pieces of iron are to be prepared like the levers which the cutters of stone make use of, one being[p. 200] rather broader and another narrower; and there should be three of them at least, and still more, so that you may use those that suit best; and then, along with extension, we must use these as levers, applying the under surface of the piece of iron to the under fragment of the bone, and the upper surface to the upper bone; and, in a word, we must operate powerfully with the lever as we would do upon a stone or a piece of wood. The pieces of iron should be as strong as possible, so that they may not bend. This is a powerful assistance, provided the pieces of iron be suitable, and one use them properly as levers. Of all the mechanical instruments used by men, the most powerful are these three, the axis in peritrochio, the lever, and the wedge. Without these, one or all, men could not perform any of their works which require great force. Wherefore, reduction with the lever is not to be despised, for the bones will be reduced in this way, or not at all. But if the upper fragment which rides over the other does not furnish a suitable point of support a suitable point of support for the lever, but the protruding part is sharp, you must scoop out of the bone what will furnish a proper place for the lever to rest on. The lever, along with extension, may be had recourse to on the day of the accident, or next day, but by no means on the third, the fourth, and the fifth. For if the limb is disturbed on these days, and yet the fractured bones not reduced, inflammation will be excited, and this no less if they are reduced; for convulsions are more apt to occur if reduction take place, than if the attempt should fail. These facts should be well known, for if convulsions should come on when reduction is effected, there is little hope of recovery; but it is of use to displace the bones again if this can be done with out trouble. For it is not at the time when the parts are in a particularly relaxed condition that convulsions and tetanus are apt to supervene, but when they are more than usually tense. In the case we are now treating of, we should not disturb the limb on the aforesaid days, but strive to keep the wound as free from inflammation as possible, and especially encourage suppuration in it. But when seven days have elapsed, or rather more, if there be no fever, and if the wound be not inflamed, then there will be less to prevent an attempt at reduction,[p. 201] if you hope to succeed; but otherwise you need not take and give trouble in vain.

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