An open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) is a type of surgery used to fix broken bones.
This is a two-part surgery:
This surgery is done to repair fractures that wouldn’t heal correctly with just a cast or splint.
Problems from ORIF surgery are rare, but all surgical procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems like:
Before your procedure, you should talk to your doctor about how to manage factors that can increase your risk of complications, such as:
Since broken bones are usually caused by
trauma or an accident, ORIF surgery is an emergency procedure in most cases.
Before your surgery, you may have:
If your surgery is urgent, you might not have time to fast beforehand. Please be sure to tell your doctor and the anesthesiologist when you last ate and drank.
If your surgery is scheduled, you might be asked to stop taking certain medications up to a week in advance of your procedure.
An anesthesiologist will talk to you about anesthesia for your surgery.
General anesthesia may be used. This will help block any pain and keep you asleep during the surgery.
In some cases, a spinal anesthetic, or more rarely a local block, might be used to numb only the area where the surgery will be done. This will depend on where the fracture is located and how long the procedure itself is expected to take.
Every ORIF surgery is different because of the location and type of fracture and, potentially, other personal factors.
In most cases though, ORIF surgeries follow these general steps:
Open reduction and internal fixation surgery of the ankle (Image copyright © Nucleus Medical Media)
An ORIF surgery can take several hours, depending on the fracture and the bone involved.
Anesthesia is used to help prevent pain during surgery.
Pain and discomfort after the surgery can be managed with medications.
Immediately after your surgery, you’ll be taken to a recovery room for observation.
There, your blood pressure and breathing will be monitored. Your pulse and the nerves close to the broken bone will also be checked.
This procedure is done in a hospital setting. Your length of stay will depend on your surgery. You might be in the hospital for 1 to 7 days.
After surgery, you can expect to:
During your stay, your hospital team will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, for example:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection, such as:
Before you leave the hospital, you’ll need to arrange for a ride home.
You’ll also want to arrange to get help at home from friends and family until you can manage on your own.
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
It’s very important for you to monitor your progress in recovering carefully after you leave the hospital.
If you experience any of the following problems or potential problems, be sure to alert your doctor right away:
And if you think you’re have an emergency – related to your ORIF procedure or otherwise – call for medical help right away.
Please contact us for:
Or speak to your primary care provider.
American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases –
Fractures (broken bones). Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00139. Updated October 2012. Accessed August 21, 2014.
Elective total hip arthroplasty. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T566765/Elective-total-hip-arthroplasty. Updated April 11, 2016. Accessed November 16, 2016.
6/3/2011 EBSCO DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T566765/Elective-total-hip-arthroplasty: Mills E, et al. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2012 EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.
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