Patricia Griffin Kellicker, BSN
An open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) is a type of surgery used to fix broken bones. This is a two-part surgery. First, the broken bone is
or put back into place. Next, an
device is placed on the bone; this can be screws, plates, rods, or pins used to hold the broken bone together.
This surgery is done to repair fractures that would not heal correctly with casting or splinting alone.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
Your risk of complications may be increased if you have a history of blood clots.
may be used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep during the surgery. It is given through an IV (needle in your vein) in your hand or arm. In some instances, a spinal anesthetic, or more rarely a local block, may be used to numb only the area where the surgery will be done. This will depend on where the fracture is located and the time it will take to perform the procedure.
Each ORIF surgery differs based on the location and type of fracture. In general, a breathing tube may be placed to help you breathe while you are asleep. Then, the surgeon will wash your skin with an antiseptic and make an incision. Next, the broken bone will be put back into place. Next, a plate with screws, a pin, or a rod that goes through the bone will be attached to the bone to hold the broken parts together. The incision will be closed with staples or stitches. A dressing and/or cast will then be applied.
After your surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room for observation. If all is well, your breathing tube will likely be removed while you are there. Your heart rate, respirations,
blood pressure, and temperature will be checked often. Your pulse and the nerves close to the broken bone will also be checked.
An ORIF surgery can take several hours depending on the fracture and the bone involved.
Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the surgery can be managed with medications.
This procedure is done in a hospital setting. Your length of stay will depend on your surgery. You may be in the hospital for 1-7 days.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
Before you leave the hospital, you will need to arrange for a ride home. 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:
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
The Arthritis Society
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Fractures (broken bones). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery website. Available at:
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00139. Updated October 2012. Accessed September 10, 2013.
Total hip arthroplasty. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
. Updated July 22, 2013. Accessed September 10, 2013.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mills E, et al. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Am J Med.
Last reviewed September 2013 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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