This procedure is done to return a
to its proper alignment. An open fracture reduction involves cutting through the skin to realign the bones during an operation. Screws and a plate or external support frame may be needed to hold the fragments in place.
This procedure is used if the bone is in many pieces, is difficult to reduce, or wasn't reduced with a closed reduction.
Fracture reduction is done for the following reasons: So that the bone can heal properly and more quicklyTo decrease pain and prevent later deformityTo regain use of the bone and limb
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a fracture reduction, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include: Nerve damageInfectionBleedingFat particles from the bone marrow or blood clots from veins that may break loose and travel to the lungsNeed for additional surgery if the bone does not heal properlyReaction to anesthesia
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include: Increased agePreexisting medical conditionAn open fracture—broken bone is sticking out of skinDiabetesUse of steroid medicationSmokingObesity
Your doctor will likely do the following: Physical examX-ray
—to look for the location and type of fracture
Provide a splint for the broken bone to decrease the risk of additional injury until it can be reduced
Leading up to the procedure:
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
You may need to take antibiotics, if advised by your doctor.If you are at home, arrange for a ride to and from the procedure. Also, arrange for help at home.Eat a light meal the night before. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Your doctor may give you:
—blocks pain and keeps you asleep through the surgery
Local anesthesia—numbs the area; given as an injection (You may also be given a sedative.)
A incision will be made in the skin covering the break. This is to expose the bone fragments. The bone fragments will be moved into their normal position. Screws, a plate with screws, or a rod may be used inside the body or an external frame fixed to the bone fragments may be used to hold the bones in place. The incision will be closed with stitches. The area will be protected with a splint or cast and dressings.
Open Reduction of Tibia
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Another x-ray will be ordered to make sure the bone is in the correct position.
This depends on the type and location of the fracture.
You will have pain after the procedure. Ask your doctor about medication to help with the pain.
0-3 days (depending on the severity of the injury and your recovery)
Small bones usually heal in 3-6 weeks. Long bones will take more time. Your doctor may have you work with a physical therapist. Therapy can help you to regain normal function.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
Severe or unusual pain that is not relieved by pain medicationSigns of infection, including fever and chillsRedness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision siteCough, shortness of breath, or chest painNumbness and/or tingling in the injured extremityLoss of movement in the fingers or toes of the injured arm or legThe cast feels too tightBurning or stinging sensations under the castRedness of the skin around the castPersistent itching under the castCracks or soft spots develop in the castChalky white, blue, or black discoloration of the fingers, toes, arm, or leg
In case of an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Setting broken bones. Cedars-Sinai website. Available at: http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Orthopaedic-Center/Treatment/Setting-Broken-Bones.aspx. Accessed September 26, 2014.
10/30/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Gosselin RA, Roberts I, Gillespie WJ. Antibiotics for preventing infection in open limb fractures.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev.
Last reviewed August 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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