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.

Getting Ready

The week before your child's surgery:

  • Write down the date, time, and location of your child's surgery.

  • When you take your child to see his caregiver, bring a list of his medicines or the medicine bottles. Tell caregivers if your child uses herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine. If your child is allergic to any medicine, tell his caregiver.

  • Ask your child's healthcare provider if your child needs to stop using certain medicines before his surgery.

  • Your child may need blood and urine tests before his surgery. He may also need chest leg x-rays. Talk to your child's healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.

The night before your child's surgery:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your child's surgery:

  • Ask before you give your child any medicine on the day of his surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines your child takes, or his pill bottles, with you to the hospital.

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery on your child. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.

  • Healthcare providers may put an IV tube into your child's vein. Your child may be given liquids and medicine through the IV.

  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you and your child before the surgery. Your child may need medicine to keep him asleep or numb an area of his body during surgery. Tell caregivers if anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.

Treatment

What will happen:

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 above and below his fracture to keep the bones aligned properly. 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.

Contact a caregiver if

  • Your child cannot make it to his surgery.

  • Your child has a fever.

  • Your child has a cold or the flu.

  • Your child's skin near the injured leg is red, swollen, or painful.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your child has increased pain or difficulty moving his leg or foot.

© 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 (Precare)

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