Open reduction internal fixation is a surgery performed to fix severely broken bones. Open reduction means that a surgeon makes an incision to realign the bone, and internal fixation means that the bones are held together with hardware such as metal plates, pins, rods, or screws. The hardware is not removed after the bone heals. It is used for fractures that can not be treated with a cast or splint; usually fractures that are displaced, unstable, or involving the joint.
ORIF may be recommended by a doctor if your bone breaks in multiple places, moves out of position, or sticks out through the skin. It may also help if the bone was previously realigned without an incision but did not heal properly. It is a two-part procedure that can take a few hours, depending on the fracture.
The first part of the procedure is an open reduction in which the surgeon makes an incision to move the bone back into its normal position. The second part of the procedure is the internal fixation, in which the surgeon attaches hardware to the bone to hold it together. The surgeon will then close the incision with stitches or staples, apply a bandage, and may put the limb in a cast or splint.
Following the Procedure
Following your surgery, doctors will monitor your blood pressure, breathing, and pulse and check the nerves around the broken bone. Depending on your surgery, you may be discharged the same day or you may need to stay in the hospital for one to several days. Recovery typically takes 3 to 12 months. Once the bones begin to heal, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you regain strength and movement in the area.
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Physical therapy following ORIF can help address post-operative symptoms. Your physical therapist will determine the appropriate treatment for you, which may include working to reduce swelling, restore normal range of motion, improve joint mobility and mechanics, increase functional strength and balance, and restore normal function. You will receive a home exercise program to ensure proper healing and recovery.
Peak Physical Therapy
Our South Shore Physical Therapy practice specializes in physical therapy including many specialty programs including return-to-sports, vestibular, pelvic health, post-concussion, aquatics, and more. Locations include Norwell, MA, Scituate, MA, Quincy, MA, Hanover, MA, Pembroke, MA, and Braintree, MA. Our specialized programs combined with state-of-the-art facilities allow us to meet the unique needs of our local patients and achieve the fastest results. If you are unsure whether this type of treatment can help you, we offer a no-obligation FREE injury screening. Click here for more information.
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