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Procedures

Fracture Reduction

General Information

A fracture reduction procedure is done to re-align bones for proper healing. When a bone is broken in many pieces, pins and plates are often used to gather them together and hold the pieces in place as the bone heals. When a surgeon needs to make an incision onto the body in order to align the bones, it is commonly referred to as an open fracture reduction.

Reasons for Fracture Reduction

There are various reasons a fracture reduction would be done, including:

  • Effective and timely healing of a broken or shattered bone
  • Reduce pain levels and ensure the bone grows back properly
  • Allow for limited movement of the extremity as the bone heals

While the procedure has plenty of benefits, a few rare complications can occur, in which a doctor will explain, including:

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Bleeding
  • Possible additional surgery in the event the bone does not grow back correctly or in proper alignment

Additional factors can cause healing time to slow down or increase the possibility of complications, including:

  • Older age
  • Smoking
  • Steroid medicine usage
  • Diabetes
  • The broken bone has punctured the skin

Diagnosis

To determine whether a fracture reduction is needed, your doctor will take the following steps to obtain a diagnosis:

  • Physical exam
  • X-ray

Surgery

At the time of the procedure, the following steps are taken to attach the device:

  • General and local anesthesia is given as needed to keep the patient comfortable
  • An incision is made in the skin, directly over the broken bone
  • The bone is adjusted back into proper alignment
  • A plate is placed on top of the bones, and pins or screws are inserted into the bone to keep the plate in place on the surface of the bone
  • The incision is sutured and closed
  • The wound area is properly bandaged and a splint is fitted to restrict movement during healing

What to Expect

After surgery, it is important to follow the doctor’s orders to ensure the bone heals correctly. At-home care includes:

  • Resting the limb on elevated pillows to decrease swelling
  • Keep the wound and splint area dry and clean
  • Leave the cast or splint alone so it effectively holds the bones in place

After the bone has healed, your doctor may suggest physical therapy to begin strengthening and increasing mobility in the extremity.