External Fixation For Leg Fractures In Children

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

External fixation of a leg fracture is surgery to repair your child's broken leg.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

RISKS:

Other parts of the leg, such as nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, muscles, and bones may be damaged. Your child's leg, foot, or toes may become stiff, swollen, painful, numb, or weak. Even after surgery, your child's broken leg may not heal quite right. His leg movements may not be the same as they were before. His legs may not grow evenly, causing one to be shorter than the other. Some nearby joints may get stiff and muscles may get weak. Your child may have trouble going back to his usual activities, such as sports.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Before your child's surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

  • An IV is a small tube placed in your child's vein that is used to give him medicine or liquids.

  • General anesthesia will keep your child asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your child's IV. He may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down his throat. The tube may cause your child to have a sore throat when he wakes up.

During your child's surgery:

Your child's healthcare provider will align the broken bones together by carefully pushing, pulling, and turning the broken leg. He will do this without making a cut on your child's skin. He may use a fluoroscope (x-ray) to help him insert pins and correctly align the bones. Holes will be made in the bones by using a drill to insert screws and long metal pins. These pins will be placed through the intact parts of the bone on both sides of the fracture. These pins will stick out through your child's skin and other rods and devices will be attached to them. An x-ray may be done to see if the bones were set in the right way. Bandages will be wrapped around the areas where the pins were inserted.

After your child's surgery:

Your child will be taken to a room to rest until he is fully awake. He will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not let your child get out of bed until his healthcare provider says it is okay. He will then be able to go home or taken to his hospital room.

  • Your child will be able to eat and drink gradually after surgery. Your child will begin with ice chips or clear liquids such as water, broth, juice, and clear soft drinks. If your child's stomach does not become upset, he may then eat soft foods, such as ice cream and applesauce. Once your child can eat soft foods easily, he may slowly begin to eat solid foods.

  • Medicines:

    • Antibiotics help treat or prevent a bacterial infection.

    • Antinausea medicine may be given to calm your child's stomach and to help prevent vomiting.

    • Pain medicine will decrease your child's pain. Do not let your child's pain get severe before asking for more medicine.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about External Fixation For Leg Fractures In Children (Inpatient Care)

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