to its proper alignment. An open fracture reduction involves cutting through the skin to realign the bones. It is used if the bone is in many pieces or is difficult to reduce. Screws and a plate may be needed to hold the fragments in place.
Reasons for Procedure
Fracture reduction is done for the following reasons:
So that the bone can heal properly and more quickly
To decrease pain and prevent later deformity
To 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:
Fat particles from the bone marrow or blood clots from veins that may dislodge and travel to the lungs
Need for additional surgery if the bone does not heal properly
Reaction to anesthesia
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Pre-existing medical condition
An open fracture (broken bone is sticking out of skin)
Local anesthesia—numbs the area; given as an injection (You may also be given a sedative.)
Description of the Procedure
The doctor will make a cut 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 to hold the bones in place. The doctor will close the incision with stitches. The area will be protected with a splint or cast and dressings.
The doctor will order another x-ray to ensure the bone is in the correct position.
How Long Will It Take?
This depends on the type and location of the fracture.
How Much Will It Hurt?
You will have pain after the procedure. Ask your doctor about medicine to help with the pain.
Average Hospital Stay
0-3 days (depending on the severity of the injury and your recovery)
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Rest your injured arm or leg on pillows. Elevate it above the level of your heart.
Gently move uninjured joints and toes.
Keep the cast, splint, and dressing clean and dry.
Wait until a "walking cast" is dry before walking on it.
Do not pull out the cast's padding. Do not break off any part of the cast.
Keep objects, dirt, and powder out of the cast.
Do not try to scratch under the cast.
Do not drive until told it is safe.
Change the dressing as directed.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Small bones usually heal in 3-6 weeks. Long bones will take more time. Your doctor may have you work with a physical therapist. He can help you to regain normal function. In some cases, you may be able to return to daily activities within a few days while wearing the cast or splint.
Call Your Doctor
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
Severe or unusual pain that is not relieved by pain medicine
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
Numbness and/or tingling in the injured extremity
Loss of movement in the fingers or toes of the injured arm or leg
The cast feels too tight
Burning or stinging sensations under the cast
Redness of the skin around the cast
Persistent itching under the cast
Cracks or soft spots develop in the cast
Chalky white, blue, or black discoloration of fingers, toes, arm, or leg
¹10/30/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Gosselin RA, Roberts I, Gillespie WJ. Antibiotics for preventing infection in open limb fractures.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev.
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