Open Reduction And Internal Fixation Of A Leg Fracture In Children

What you should know

Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) is surgery to repair your child's broken leg. Orthopedic hardware (such as rods or pins) is used to hold the broken bone together while it heals.

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

  • Your child may get an infection or bleed more than expected. Other parts of his leg, such as the nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, and muscles may be damaged. Your child's leg, foot, or toes may become stiff, swollen, painful, numb, or weak. Even with surgery, your child's broken leg may not heal as expected. His leg movements may not be the same as they were before. Your child may have trouble going back to his usual activities, including sports.

  • Without surgery, the pain and problems he has with his leg may get worse. His broken leg may even grow crooked. His legs may also not grow evenly, causing one leg to be shorter than the other.

Getting Ready

The week before your child's surgery:

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

  • Tell your child's caregiver about any medicines your child is taking. Ask your child's caregiver about any medications your child should or should not take before the surgery.

  • Your child may need to have blood and urine tests and chest and leg x-rays taken. Ask your child's caregiver for more information about these tests. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.

The night before your child's surgery:

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your child's surgery:

  • Your child will need an intravenous (IV). An IV is a small tube placed in your child's vein. Caregivers use the IV to give your child medicine or liquids.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Treatment

What will happen:

  • An incision will be made in the skin over the broken bone. Your child's caregiver will put the broken bones together. Hardware, such as metal screws, rods, or pins, will be attached to your child's broken bone to hold the pieces together while they heal. Damaged blood vessels and nerves will also be repaired.

  • An x-ray may be done to make sure the broken bone is straight. The incision will be closed with stitches or surgical tape and covered with bandages. Your child's caregiver will put a cast or splint on your child's leg to help hold the bones straight while they heal.

After your child's surgery:

Your child will be taken to a room where he can rest until he is fully awake. Caregivers will monitor him closely. When they see that your child is okay, they will take him to his hospital room. Your child may be sleepy and have pain after surgery. Do not let your child get out of bed until caregivers say it is okay. Leave your child's bandages on until his caregiver removes them.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot make it to your child's appointment on time.

  • Your child has a fever.

  • Your child has a skin infection or an infected wound near the injured leg.

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

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your child has a lot more pain or has trouble 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.

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