What is ORIF or Open Reduction and Internal Fixation?
Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) is a surgery used to fix and heal a broken bone, open fracture, or displaced fracture. This procedure is used to fix fractures that can’t be treated with a cast or splint. Mostly these fractures are related to displacement, instability, or maybe joint-related issues.
Why do you need ORIF?
Most people with a fractured femur need surgery, commonly ORIF. The broken femur may not heal properly without the surgery. ORIF can place your fractured bones back to their original position. This significantly increases the chance that the bone will heal properly. Orthopedic Doctors might recommend nonsurgical treatment for a very young child, or for people with other medical conditions that make surgery more dangerous. ORIF may be required if your femur fractures anywhere, including the portion that forms part of your hip joint.
Procedure for ORIF:
ORIF is frequently performed as an emergency or urgent procedure. Before the procedure, a healthcare provider will take your medical history and do a physical exam. The femur needs to be examined, most likely with an X-ray or a computed tomography scan (CT).
This procedure might be done immediately or scheduled in advance, depending on your fracture and risk for complications. If you have a scheduled surgery, you may need to fast and stop taking certain medications first.
An orthopedic surgeon and a team of experts will perform the surgery. The whole procedure may take a few hours. Know the following steps of this procedure:
- General anesthesia will be given to make you sleep during the procedure so that you do not experience any pain or discomfort.
- During the procedure, a healthcare expert will carefully monitor your vital signs, such as your heart rate and blood pressure. During the surgery, a breathing tube may be inserted down the throat to help you breathe.
- The surgeon will make an incision through the skin and muscle of your thigh after cleansing the affected area.
- Parts of the femur will be re-aligned by the surgeon (reduction).
- The surgeon will fix the femur parts. He or she may use screws, metal plates, wires, or pins to do this. For a fracture in the middle part of your femur, surgeons often use a specially designed long metal rod that passes through the middle of the boneto treat a fracture in the middle part of the bone.
- The layers of skin and muscle around the thigh will be surgically closed after the team has secured the fractured bone.
After the surgery, most people do really well. However, there are potential risks and side effects associated with ORIF. These includes:
- Nerve damage
- Blood clots
- Fat embolism
- Healing of the fractured bone in an abnormal alignment
- Irritation of the overlying tissue from the hardware
- Complications from anaesthesia
The risk for complications may vary depending on the age, the anatomy of the femur fracture, and other medical conditions. For example, people with low diabetes or bone mass may be at greater risk for some complications. Smokers may also have higher risk. Better, consult the doctor about the risks before going for surgery.