We know that being in space has negative effects on bones. If you had a broken bone is space would it heal ok? Has there ever been a broken bone healed in space? Other then Spaceflight osteopenia would there be any concerns like the bone not knowing how to grow because of the lack of gravity?


Studies, simulations and observations reported in the National Space Biomedical Research Institute's document Fracture healing in spaceflight and in a ground-based hypogravity analog conclude that

Fibular fracture healing in a chronically unloaded condition is impaired when compared to the healing response in a weight weight-bearing condition.

Where the unloaded condition represents zero or a low gravity environment. The conclusions were based on the observations on test rats, finding that in low gravity:

  • healing rate was more variable
  • the rate and extent of callus size was diminished to 20-30%
  • Non union incidence (meaning, union of both sides of the fracture) was 46%.

Further, in the article Effects of Long-Duration Spaceflight, Microgravity, and Radiation on the Neuromuscular, Sensorimotor, and Skeletal Systems (Carpenter et al. 2010), it is reported that in simulated tests using rats, bone fracture repair was delayed significantly.

So, no, unless you had some means to simulate the mechanical loading (Carpenter et al. 2010) necessary for the healing process, in a microgravity environment, the healing process would be delayed and not complete (according to the simulations studied).


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