Open Reduction And Internal Fixation Of An Arm Fracture

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Open Reduction And Internal Fixation Of An Arm Fracture (Inpatient Care) Care Guide

Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of an arm fracture is surgery to fix a broken arm bone. This may include the humerus (upper arm bone), radius, or ulna (lower arm bones). Medical plates, screws, pins, or wires will be 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. You may be allergic to anesthesia medicine and have trouble breathing. Your arm may become stiff, numb, and weak. Your broken arm may not heal properly. You may not be able to move your arm the way you did before your injury. You may have trouble going back to your usual activities. You may get compartment syndrome (increased pressure in your arm), which can damage muscles and tissue. You may need surgery on your arm again.

  • 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 broken arm will heal in a crooked position. You may have pain and trouble moving it. Skin tissue near the fracture can die. You can get a severe infection.

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:

    • Intravenous (IV) regional anesthesia: This is medicine put into an IV in the injured arm or leg. A pressure cuff is first put on your arm or leg. After the cuff is tightened, the medicine is put into the IV. The cuff keeps the medicine in the arm or leg so you will not have pain.

    • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.

During your surgery:

An incision will be made on or around your arm fracture. Dead tissue and small pieces of bone will be removed and damaged muscles or tendons fixed. Caregivers will use plates, screws, pins, or wires to put the broken pieces 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. X-rays may be taken to see if the bones are in the correct position. The wound will be closed with stitches or staples 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 may be able to go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken to your room.

  • Drain: A drain (thin rubber tube) will be placed during surgery to drain fluid from around your wound. Your caregiver will remove the drain when your wound stops draining fluid.

  • 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.

    • Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Blood thinners may be given before, during, and after a surgery or procedure. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.

© 2013 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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