Open Reduction And Internal Fixation Of An Ankle Fracture

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of an ankle fracture is surgery to fix a broken ankle. Medical wires, screws, pins, or plates are used to hold the bones in place while they heal.

CARE AGREEMENT:

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

RISKS:

  • You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, or muscles may be damaged during surgery. Your leg, ankle, or foot may become stiff, numb, and weak. You may still have ankle pain. Your broken ankle may not heal properly. You may not be able to walk or move your foot and leg the way you did before your injury. You may have trouble going back to your usual activities.

  • You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. The blood clot can break loose and travel to your lungs or brain. A blood clot in your lungs can cause chest pain and trouble breathing. A blood clot in your brain can cause a stroke. This can be life-threatening. Without treatment, your ankle may heal in a crooked position. Your legs may be different lengths. Your pain may get worse.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you 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 medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

  • Anesthesia: This medicine is given to make you comfortable. You may not feel discomfort, pressure, or pain. An adult will need to drive you home and should stay with you for 24 hours. Ask your caregiver if you can drive or use machinery within 24 hours. Also ask if and when you can drink alcohol or use over-the-counter medicine. You may not want to make important decisions until 24 hours have passed.

During your surgery:

An incision will be made on or around your ankle. Caregivers will use wires, screws, plates, or pins to put the broken bones back together. A bone graft may be placed in or around the fracture to fill any defect. Bone is added to make it stronger as the natural bone grows around the graft. A bone graft is bone from another part of your body or another person. Caregivers may flush the area to remove small, loose pieces of broken bone. Damaged blood vessels and nerves will also be repaired. X-rays may be taken to see if the bones are in the correct position. The wound will be closed with stitches or medical tape and covered with bandages.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room.

  • Activity: You may need to walk around the same day of surgery, or the day after. Movement will help prevent blood clots. You may also be given exercises to do in bed. Do not get out of bed on your own until your caregiver says you can. Talk to caregivers before you get up the first time. They may need to help you stand up safely. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy. Then press the call light button to let caregivers know you need help.

  • Cast or splint: You may need a cast or splint on your lower leg, ankle, and foot. This will help prevent movement so your bones can heal.

  • You will be able to drink liquids and eat certain foods once your stomach function returns after surgery. You may be given ice chips at first. Then you will get liquids such as water, broth, juice, and clear soft drinks. If your stomach does not become upset, you may then be given soft foods, such as ice cream and applesauce. Once you can eat soft foods easily, you may slowly begin to eat solid foods.

  • Medicines:

    • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.

    • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

    • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and to help prevent vomiting.

© 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 Open Reduction And Internal Fixation Of An Ankle Fracture (Inpatient Care)

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