Explain the Difference Between Internal and External Fragmentation

Internal vs. External Fracture

Internal and external fracturing are different types of cracks that can be found in any material that is subjected to stress under an external force. Learn more about the difference between the two types, their causes, prevention, and treatment in this blog article.

What is the difference between internal and external fragmentation?

One of the most common fracture patterns is internal fragmentation. This type of damage usually happens when a bone separates from another one. For example, if you fell from a horse and hit the ground, your bone might split into smaller pieces internally because it is not strong enough to withstand the force. In this case, it would be considered an internal fracture. If you have an external fracture, the damage usually happens on your skin surface due to a blow or fall from a high distance.

Internal vs. external fragmentation, what are the costs?

Internal fragmentation is the fracturing of the bone in the same place, which can happen when an object penetrates or fractures a bone. External fragmentation refers to the fractures occurring at another location on the same bone. The cost of internal fragmentation tends to be more significant than external fragmentation due to its proximity to vital organs.

Types of Fragmentation

External fractures are those that involve the skin and outside of the body. Internal fractures often show on the x-ray but not always. There are two types of external fracture: open and closed. An open fracture is one that goes through your skin, whereas a closed fracture has no cut or tears in it. Much like an internal fracture, there are two types of internal fractures: simple and compound. A simple fracture is one with no cuts or breaks in bone, while a compound fracture has both cuts and breaks.

What do you need to know about internal and external fragmentation?

Internal fragmentation is the breakage of bone inside the body, often referred to as “spine fractures.” This can occur whenever a force is applied to the spine, which may be during an accident or fall. External fragmentation is the breakage of bone outside of the body.


External step fractures are more common than internal step fractures, but both can happen. Internal steps are more likely to be displaced or re-broken while external steps will cause some pain and swelling, but the fracture itself doesn’t usually go too deep. External fractures are often treated with a cast or splint while internal injuries may need surgery.