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Broken Shoulder with Osteoporosis

My grandmother has recently broken her shoulder. She is 80 years old and has severe osteoporosis. I'm not completely sure of the details because she is Korean and the translations aren't the best but the doctors sent her home from the hospital saying there was nothing they could do to repair it because there isn't enough bone. My parents have tasked me with finding information on ways to fix this. They plan on taking her under their tri-care plan for better health care then they offer in Korea. If there are any new, innovative ways that could possibly help this situation please reply. Thank you.
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replied January 13th, 2013
Especially eHealthy

Sorry about your grandmother's injury.

Treatment of the injury would depend upon which bone was actually broken. Has she sustained a proximal humerus fracture (the ball part of the ball and socket joint)? And, if so, what type of proximal humerus fracture? Most proximal humerus fractures are classified by the Neer classification. In the Neer system, the fractures are based upon how many "parts" there are in the fracture (e.g. two part, three part, four part, and under each of these, they are further divided by which "parts" are involved, such as the surgical neck, anatomical neck, lesser tuberosity, greater tuberosity, shaft, etc).

Also, if it is a proximal humerus fracture, is it an intra-articular fracture? Is the joint dislocated or not?

So, as you can see, there is a lot of information that needs to be known, and this is just for one particular injury.

If it is not a proximal humerus fracture, what injury is it? Is it a scapular fracture, an AC joint injury, a rotator cuff injury, what exactly is it?

So, before possible treatment options can be offered, the exact nature of the injury must be known.

Of course, significant osteoporosis makes all treatment options much more difficult. In fact, in some cases, significant osteoporosis makes some treatments impossible. While everyone wants their loved ones to be treated in the best way possible, unfortunately, again, in some cases of shoulder injuries in the frail, elderly with significant osteoporosis, there just is no way to treat some injuries.

Also, you state that your parents want to have your grandmother taken care of under the TriCare program. If you are speaking of the military medical system (called TriCare), you really need to check on the eligibility requirements. Often, dependent parents are not eligible for TriCare Prime or TriCare of Life.

Before committing to treatment options, make sure of her eligibility.

Again, before any treatment suggestions can be offered, her exact injury has to be known.

Hope your grandmother is doing okay. While you are doing research and she is waiting for treatment, it is very important that she keeps her fingers and wrist supple. Even if the shoulder is immobilized, it is still possible to put the fingers all through a full set of range of motion exercises several times a day, and the same with the wrist.

Good luck.
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