Open Reduction & Internal Fixation

Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) is a kind of surgery utilized to stabilize and heal a broken bone. You might require this process to treat your broken ankle. The surgery is done using orthopedic surgical instruments.

The ankle joint is made up of three bones. These are tibia (shinbone), the talus (a bone in your foot), and the fibula (the smaller bone in your leg)

Various kinds of injury can damage the lower fibula, lower tibia, or talus. Only one of these bones might break, or you might have a fracture in two or more of these bones. In some types of fractures, your bone breaks but the portions still line up accurately. In other kinds of fractures, the injury can move the fragments of bone out of alignment.

If you fracture your ankle, you might require ORIF to bring back into its position and help them heal. At the time of an open reduction, orthopedic surgeons reposition your bone parts during surgery, so they are back in their correct alignment. Surgeons use orthopedictools to perform the surgery, provided by the trauma implants suppliers. In a closed reduction, a healthcare provider physically moves the bones back in position without surgically exposing the bone. Internal fixation refers to the procedure of physically reconnecting the bones. This might involve special plates, screws, wires, rods, or nails that the surgeon places inside the bones to fix them in an accurate place. This avoids the bones from healing abnormally. The whole operation often takes place at the time when you are asleep under general anesthesia.

Why might I an ankle fracture open reduction and internal fixation of an ankle fracture?

Some medical conditions may make fracturing your ankle. For example, osteoporosis increases the fracture risk in several older adults. Contact sports, twisting your ankle, motor vehicle accidents, tripping or falling are some of the more common reasons of injury that can lead to an ankle fracture. Overweight people and smokers are more expected to fracture their ankle and have increased problems with healing.

You might not need ORIF if you fracture your ankle. Several people do not. If possible, your healthcare provider will treat your fracture with treatments that are more conservative, such as medicines, braces, or casts.

You probably would not need ORIF unless there is any reason your fracture not heal generally with these conservative treatments. You are more expected to need ORIF in following situations:

  • Your broken bones punctured your skin
  • The pieces of your leg are significantly out of alignment
  • Your bones broke into many pieces
  • Your ankle is unstable

In these cases, ORIF can position your bones back into their correct alignment, increasing the chance that your bone will heal appropriately. You might need ORIF for a fracture that occurs anyplace along your ankle.

What are the risks of open reduction and internal fixation of ankle fracture?

Most people do very well with ORIF for their ankle fracture. However, some occasional complications do sometimes happen. Possible complications include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Skin complications
  • Nerve damage
  • Fat embolism
  • Blood clots
  • Bone misalignment
  • Irritation of the overlying tissue from the hardware

There is also a risk that the fracture would not heal accurately, and you will need to repeat the surgery using medical devices.

Your own risk of complications may differ according to the anatomy of your fracture, your age, and your other medical conditions. For example, people with diabetes or low bone mass may be at greater risk of some complications. Smokers may also have a greater risk. Ask your healthcare provider about the risks that usually apply to you.


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